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All-City makes sure the show goes on (Video)




For the All-City Arts program, the show must go on, even during a pandemic and remote learning.

After COVID-19 scuttled the program’s Winter Showcase, All-City Director Kimberly Brown, District Director of Arts Education Jeffery Allen and about 20 teachers went to work on an alternative they could pull off even with students at home in remote learning.

The result: 3 ½ minutes of students playing, singing, dancing and displaying their artwork on video to “Cleveland Rocks.” It’s not the hour and a half of entertainment staged annually at venues such as Severance Hall or Tri-C, but it might have required more work and came together in in less time.

More than 200 students in third grade through high school performed in a like number of videos that were then stitched seamlessly into one by the CMSD Communications Department. They worked under the direction of about 20 teachers.

“Every year, when planning for All City Winter, we have always wanted to program a piece of music that highlighted students from band, choir, dance, orchestra,” said Jason Levy, a Campus International K-8 music teacher at the center of the action.

“The problem we always had was we didn't have a performing space that would hold all of them on stage at once. Being virtual gave us the opportunity to collaborate in a way we have always wanted to and include all four disciplines of the arts.  This particular project even allowed us to include visual art, too. It has been a blast working on this project and this scale. ”

Brown credits Levy and other teachers for pulling the production together in a month.

“Art is continuing, just in a slightly different way than we are used to,” she said. “Our educators are amazing. They are making sure our scholars continue to learn.’

Ololande Robinson, a junior at the Cleveland School of the Arts, choreographed and performed dance for the video.

She recorded moves and sent video to other dancers so they could follow the routine. The work allowed her to experience at least a small sense of the joy that dance brings her.

“I can’t wait for this whole thing to clear so we can rehearse with each other and dance with each other,” said Ololande, who hopes to major in dance at Baldwin Wallace University or New York University. “Dancing in front of the camera doesn’t touch the energy you feel when you are with other people. That’s what I miss the most – dancing with other people.”

Brown is committed to staging virtual substitutes for other All-City events, including the All-City Musical presented each year at Playhouse Square.

“Every marking period, every aspect of All-City will have have some sort of cumulating performance that can be done virtually,” she said.