By Nicole Matheson

As many hunker down at home and practice social distancing, they begin to ask themselves how to spend their time in quarantine. Now more than ever people need performers and artists, and Havasu is teeming with talented individuals rising to the occasion.

Many have seen some of them on the GraceArtsLive stage in various musical productions, and now they’ve taken to performing on social media in what has been dubbed the ‘quarantunes’ by one of the community theater’s popular faces, Maura Cunning. The nifty word combines ‘quarantine’ with ‘tunes’ for a catchy title.

Beginning Of Quarantunes

Almost 1,000 members belong to the Grace Arts Circle of Friends page on Facebook, where the quarantunes have largely been circling.

Some of the very first videos come from theater kids Ian Riedel, 8, and Bailey Vesely, 12, who share that the idea comes from a friend living in Phoenix who began posting videos of her singing on social media.

“I thought it would be a fun way since the theater was closed down to be able to perform and do a show,” Riedel said. Inspired, he and Vesely recorded their own videos the same day, and started a growing trend. Riedel’s father,

Chris Riedel, was surprised to see it take on a life of its own, noting that, “It happened pretty fast,” after the children posted their videos. “The next day when we woke up we saw other people joining in. It is pretty awesome and heartwarming to see!”

“I really miss performing and my theater family,” Vesely told RiverScene. “Doing these videos definitely helps me stay positive, and they are a lot of fun!” And her mother, Heidi Crutchfield Vesely, is very supportive, saying, “I think this is a fantastic outlet for her! She was really, really, sad to not be able to go to rehearsals or dance classes anymore, but now she has something to look forward to every day!”

Why It’s Important

It’s not just the kids posting quarantunes. A fan favorite performer at GraceArtsLive, Jacob Ware, has also posted a video along with many others.

Asked why it’s important, Ware says, “It keeps people thinking about Grace Arts while we’re on hiatus, which is important. It’s important for the adults to participate so the kids can see their teachers and mentors keeping a state of normalcy. Plus, we’re all bored.”

Teacher, director and performer Lauren Blain believes that, “Quarantunes has given our performers from past and present a chance to connect virtually and tell a story, but ultimately just to share a little joy in an uncertain time.”

Considering the response, quarantunes and the arts are more essential than realized. Blain notes that, “Performers often use acting as an escape from everyday reality and the theater is our sanctuary, ‘non-essential’ to most but to performers it’s everything.”

Staying Connected

Staying connected is crucial. Along with missing the theater and each other, these actors keep the spirit of the arts in Havasu alive in our hearts.

“Just have fun and try your best,” young Riedel advises anyone who may want to join in.

Blain also has some advice, “Continue to share and learn; pick up a new skill or talent, like reading music or learning to juggle, master the splits or a cart wheel! Anything that keeps them growing an ready for when the theater is able to reopen its doors and we can step back onto the stage and share what we have learned with a little but more appreciation of our community theater and our ability to connect with humanity face to face.”

And more quarantunes will continute in the weeks to come.

“I plan to keep doing one every day until the quarantine is over!” Vesely is happy to say. “Hopefully I can come up with enough songs.”

To view the “Quarentunes” videos, visit the Facebook Group here. 


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