The Silicon Valley Voice

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What’s Happening with Community Performing Arts in Santa Clara?

All dressed up with no place to go is but one side of the coin in a world that’s been grounded. What’s happening with the nonprofit performing arts organizations and performers in the community?

The Santa Clara Players and the Santa Clara Chorale, both nonprofit performing arts organizations that have been around town for almost 60 years, are experiencing different realities in the face of live performance lockdowns.

Santa Clara Players producer George Doeltz announced that their 2020 – 2021 season is cancelled. They will resume productions in October of 2021 with Drinking Habits 2 by Tom Smith.

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“We’re on a hiatus. We’ll be back if all goes well,” promised Doeltz. Their only other show cancellation since their first season in 1962 was in 1985 when they temporarily lost their venue at the Triton Museum of Art.

“There are so many other entertainment choices for people nowadays that I don’t know how badly we will be missed,” Doeltz added. “We will, however, be greatly missed by our actors.”

“This is truly a wonderful community theater with a loyal group of subscribers, many of whom I now know by name,” said San Jose resident Pat Cross, who has acted with the Players for a decade.

“To hear the audience laugh during comedies, gasp at some of the unexpected plot surprises, applaud at the end of a performance — there is nothing like a live performance to get this kind of feedback,” said Cross, last seen in The Lost Virginity Tour in 2019.

“Also, I miss working with my fellow actors. There is a special comradery that develops when working on a show.”

Despite cancelled 2020 concerts at Mission Santa Clara, the Santa Clara Chorale has met and sung regularly on Zoom.

“One of the major things that organizations like the Chorale do is bring people together and make them feel connected to activities and people that they care about,” said Santa Clara Chorale artistic director Scot Hanna-Weir.

“For our singers, the Chorale has been a rock and a way to continue to connect with people. Even though we are all singing from our individual houses, it still has a sense that we are singing together, and that makes a huge difference.”

The Chorale hopes to open its 2020 – 2021 season with a holiday concert Dec. 11 and 13. But “just in case,” it’s also preparing for live-streamed concerts with little or no audience, as well as the possibility of virtual performances.

In October, it will throw an online watch party with a virtual performance of The Cloths of Heaven by M.E. Valverde.

“Singing is a wonderful outlet for us as we all shelter in place. With our ‘shelter-in-sing’ in the summer, we kept the thread of our singing going in some creative way,” said SCC alto Elsbeth TeBrake from Los Altos. “We are now in some way our own audience, as it helps to see smiling faces.”

“We are making every effort to continue to make music not just for our singers, but for all of our fans who miss the feeling of being uplifted by our concerts,” said Hanna-Weir.

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