Shining brightly through music
By Lynn Zahorik, photos courtesy of Natalie Jackson
While most stages across the country remained dark, the lights shone brightly at The Valor Center this summer. For three and a half weeks, 60 Valor Christian High School (VCHS) performing arts students joined together to rehearse for six performances of their summer production, “Bright Star.”
Set in the Blue Ridge Mountains and based on a true event from the 1940s, the bluegrass musical written by Steve Martin and Edie Brickell tells the tale of love and undying hope that the sun will shine again. The ever so timely production was carefully crafted as the department worked closely with Tri-County Health to adhere to its guidelines.
“We had to be cautious but also very courageous in what we were doing,” said Marlana Perry, assistant director of theatre productions. “We knew we were risking a lot of criticism, but ultimately had to make the decision that pursuing the arts and bringing light to the world through the stories we tell on stage was extremely important, especially with the challenging times.”
Dedicated to keeping the cast and crew safe, the VCHS students and faculty followed strict regulations that ultimately ended up paying off. Through the entire season of the “Bright Star” production, there was not one case of COVID-19. Masks were worn throughout rehearsals, and the musical leads were allowed to wear face shields for the performances. “Students were genuinely so happy to be able to perform that they were willing to do what had to be done to keep the show operating safely,” reflected Perry. The inspiring production was enjoyed each night by a sparsely populated yet enthusiastic audience which had been limited to allow for social distancing.