FAB reinvented for a virtual platform


By Abby Keenley

Despite not being able to perform and present pieces for the community for FAB in person, the art departments have taken on the challenge of making easily-accessible pieces out of their previous work virtually.

This year, instead of Festival of Arts at Branson, arts faculty have created FAAB: Festival of Arts Away at Branson. 

In dance, students are continuing with their choreography to finish the pieces they started before distance learning. Georgia Ortega, director of dance, is working with a video editor to create videos showcasing each dance in a unique way:

“Filming their work has generated new ideas and allowed them to play in their yards, their homes, and add whimsical movement with pets, props, and costumes,” she said. “We are still in the process of editing and choosing titles but some of the offerings are “QUARANCLEAN,” “LET’S GET LOUD,” “MY HOUSE” and “VIVA LA VIDA.”  

Ortega also said that “seniors are presenting beautifully crafted solo works and we have a work in progress video that features musician Corbin Glover. Footage of our rehearsals in the studio was combined with choreography that I taught over Zoom.

“Students have been willing to take a deep dive into celebrating FAB in this new way and we look forward to sharing these videos with the community.” said Ortega. 

Ciara Tran, a junior and member of Dance Performance Ensemble, is excited that despite not being able to perform on stage.

“We’re still hoping to showcase our dances,” Tran said. “Georgia is planning to edit a video of each class performing their pieces with footage of us rehearsing in class, as well as videos of us dancing at home.”

Making the best of their time during this shelter-in-place, the music separtment has chosen to present their FAB pieces with a critical question in mind: “What have people been turning to when there has been so much upheaval, uncertainty, and even tragedy in these trying times?”

“We’ve rediscovered that music is a source of solace and comfort for people around the world, whether as a listener or a performer. With this in mind, the music students at Branson have been hard at work putting together pieces to be shared in a virtual concert with the Branson community,” said Rachel Kim, a music teacher.

As a teacher of Intermediate Ensemble, Chamber Music and Performance Classical Seminar, Kim and her students are in the process of reinventing their previous work into virtual recitals available for the whole community.

The Intermediate Ensemble will put together a playlist of solo performances that will be shared in a recital format. Because students cannot perform together in person, they have used this opportunity to feature everyone in solo moments, from performing a duet with a parent to composing and sharing an original piece.

Chamber singers will be featured in a virtual choir video, where they will sing a song to the uplifting text of Langston Hughes’ “Hold Fast to Dreams,” a message to remember that we have each other and a whole community of support.

“For Performance Seminar Classical, we are going to have a sound engineer try and piece together our individual parts to create virtual chamber music. I’m interested to see how FAB and my class’ videos will turn out because I’ve never been a part of something like this before,” said Sophie Liu, a freshman. 

“I‘m glad that we will be able to have a virtual FAB, but of course, it would have been nice to see everybody in person,” Liu said.

The theater classes have been working to reinvent the performances to be shared virtually.

The Intermediate Acting class is performing a piece called “Vicar Skewer’s First and Last Show,” which is a play within a play. Maura Vaughn, director of theater, said that the stage play has since been adapted for Zoom with the help of the play’s director and senior, Louisa Conte.

“I think that our acting classes’ online play is good. In my opinion not as funny as it would have been but we certainly made the best of it. The script has been rewritten by Louisa, our director and us so it makes sense online. We have been working super hard to make it funny!” said Lucille Rieke, a sophomore student in Intermediate Acting.

Students of the Acting Performance Class have adapted the spring play, George Feydeau’s bedroom farce ”Not By Bed Alone,” for a virtual platform.

In their FAB piece, Advanced Acting members portray victims of the Camp fire in 2018 from all walks of life, reliving that day and trying to move forward in their lives while entering their new realities.”

In visual arts, students are still creating pieces at home, with supplies being dropped off from school. 

“The department began showcasing the work and words of Portfolio Review seniors on May 4, on their Instagram account, visual_arts_at_branson.

“Work from other classes will also be featured throughout the month. One boon of Shelter-In-Place was the idea generated by seniors to create a Branson Artchive. This portal through the Branson website will showcase all of our visual arts students with their best work of the school year.” said Allyson Seal, a visual art teacher at Branson.

As student artists adapt to the less-than-ideal circumstances due to distance learning and the shelter-in-place, they are still working to be able to share their work with the community.

The Intermediate Ensemble class practiced solo piano pieces. Alexa Polsky preformed Etude Op. 25 No. 2 by Chopin at FAB


Advanced Acting portrayed victims of the Camp fire of 2018, “reliving that day and trying to move forward in their lives while entering their new realities.”

Before the shelter-in-place orders, the Acting Performance class performed “Not by Bed Alone,” which has been reinvented slightly for a virtual platform.

The Intermediate Acting class reworked  “Vicar Skewer’s First and Last Show” for a virtual FAB.