“We’ll Meet Again” was a popular World War II song portraying the emotion of millions who experienced emptier lives when family and friends were no longer near. What we have all felt over the last several weeks carries that same level of uncertainty and concern, along with a sturdy optimism that our days will soon return to what they were before “sheltering in place” and “social distancing” entered into our daily conversations.
Although we have canceled or postponed much of our spring 2020 schedule, Barrington’s White House staff has continued to develop our Cultural Series, hoping that in the not too distant future, concerts, lectures, and arts events will be returning to their loyal audiences. In the mean time, we have created three “Sampler” videos, which include both classical music performances and lectures. If you have not seen them, they are available on YouTube (search “Barrington’s White House”).
We have also begun to pivot to offering virtual presentations. A recent survey resulted in over 250 responses asking us to present cultural events through virtual means during this restricted time. In response, beginning on May 7, we will offer via Zoom a series of BWH artists, starting with Steve Puttrich teaching a plein air oil painting class. Upcoming events will include both visual and performing artists from the BWH roster.
An exciting new segment in our fall 2020 season will be a Jazz Cabaret experience, beginning in late August. The series opens with Four by Four, the fusion of a string quartet and jazz quartet, whose earlier performances include a date with virtuoso trumpeter Wynton Marsalis. The jazz events continue in September with a Jazz Cabaret Second Thursday’s grouping for those who want to perfect their jazz skills with Marianne Kim’s Jazz Duo, offering coaching and rehearsal opportunities.
Our regular fall series is almost complete, beginning with Richard Glazier, an award-winning pianist and authority on American Popular Song, followed by Patty Dowd Schmitz’s presentation on Laura Ingalls Wilder, Chicago Tribune political cartoonist Scott Stantis, a “Those Were the Days” 60’s folk song group, a children’s Halloween show, and Quartet San Francisco, a non-traditional eclectic string quartet with jazz, blues, funk, and pop repertory. Our Third Thursday Art Night Out series will continue, highlighted by special guest artists from the prestigious Oil Painters of America. Although spring 2021 seems far away, we look forward to the return of the world-renowned violinist Rachel Barton Pine next May. Many of these events will be live streamed and available through ticket purchases that allow access at home.
Please keep in touch with questions and ideas. You may still continue to make donations to the Cultural Series by visiting friendsofbwh.org or by calling 224-512-4066.
And so, we’ll meet again!
Paul Roeckell grew up in North Barrington and attended Barrington schools, graduating from BHS in 2015. He earned a musical theater degree from Catholic University of America in Washington, D.C. He is currently performing in “Twice Charmed”, an adaptation of “Cinderella” aboard a Disney cruise ship named “Magic”, which has been halted due to the COVID-19 pandemic. We reached out from stateside to talk with Paul.
QB: How did BHS help you achieve your musical skills?
PR: BHS provided me with resources and access to arts education I don’t think I’d find anywhere else. Nancie Tobison will go down as one of my greatest mentors and teachers. Not only did she provide me a music education that was a step above the rest when I reached to collegiate level, she taught me to work hard for what I wanted. She never gave me an inch unless I earned it. She is an amazing person and her impact on my life has been extraordinary. She sailed on the Disney “Magic” with her family and got to see me perform (her first time since high school) and it was so fulfilling to show her what her hard work helped me to become.
QB: Tell us about your job with Disney?
PR: I was a Mainstage Performer for Disney Cruise Line aboard the Disney “Magic”. I was friends with Prince Charming in two of those shows. I performed anywhere from 6-8 shows a cruise (usually two shows a day) in the Walt Disney Theater. I got the job through my agent who reached out the company. One audition and a phone call later and I received an offer!
QB: How is it working for the Disney company?
PR: I LOVE working with the Disney Company. To work backstage has given me a respect for the magic that Disney gives to each any every guest. Everyone has a few special memories from their childhood, when they experienced magic, beauty, something wonderful that’s stayed with them, and it’s cool to think that I might be one of those memories.
QB: Any advice for aspiring actors or musicians?
PR: Open your mind to what a career in the arts could be. Many think that there are few paths in the arts, and that you have to be famous. While I, too, want to be on Broadway, I’ve found that the steps along the way, the meaningful work you can do outside of what the cookie cutter mainstream path is, is work that you will cherish the rest of your life. Just because you can sing and dance doesn’t mean you have to do a musical. Your art can influence in different kinds of mediums; pursue it with passion.
QB: Parting thoughts?
PR: I’ve been lucky to have a good start to my arts career thanks to the amazing support I’ve received from my community and the love of my parents. I’m thankful and I just want them to know that their impact was profound for me.
Congrats Mikayla! As they adjust to a new normal, BDE continues to reach out in support of local student dancers. BDE has awarded a Patricia Whitmore Scholarship to Mikayla Patten, one of the company’s talented dancers, to assist with her extended summer study. In addition, the ensemble is continuing to fund the BDE scholarship and the Rusty Hernandez Boys Scholarship.
@barringtondanceensemble @mikayla_patten @lidburyphotography
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