For the past 10 years, students of Out-of-Door Academy have performed for residents of Bay Village of Sarasota once a month.
But after COVID-19 forced the retirement community to restrict visitation, the students were unable to give their monthly performance.
One fifth grade student, however, was determined to still give the residents a concert.
Brody Rose, who plays viola, asked his classmates to record themselves playing a song and to send it to him. He then edited all the performances together in iMovie and gave it to Bay Village employees to play.
“It was so fun,” Rose said. “I saw more and more people sending videos and telling others to do it, and everyone just really came together.”
The students performed solos of themselves playing something they were working on out of their school books or a song that makes them happy, from “Mr. Blue Sky” to “It’s a Small World.”
Linda Vasilaki, the school’s music and orchestra director, said it was great to see her students find a way to keep performing.
“We have grown attached to our friends at Bay Village,” Vasilaki said. “They have told us through their activities director that they love watching the children grow up and mature as a new group of young musicians join the group. We were told that it is one of the things they cherish because it is a lasting relationship.”
Although it’s mostly ODA students who perform, Vasilaki said they have performers from the ages of 3 to 93.
Rose and his classmates of all ages created a video for April and May, but it wasn’t without a few bumps. Several performers had to rerecord their performances due to audio issues or because of strange backgrounds in the video.
“We have never had to think about our stage setting before as the stage was always set for is,” Vasilaki said. “This time we had to be conscious of our surroundings and our outfits.”
Although it has been challenging coordinating the effort, Rose said he was happy to still have a chance to perform.
“It’s always fun, especially at Bay Village, to play for them because it brings people joy,” Rose said. “Whenever we have a concert, it’s nice to see the smiles on people’s faces.”
Rose’s mom, Kelly, said it has been amazing to watch her son’s love for music grow.
“He started with [Vasilaki] when he was 2, and my husband and I did not play instruments at all — we never have — so we didn’t know what to do,” Kelly Rose said. “He was just loving music, and [Vasilaki] took him and put him on stage, and I think that’s what’s given him the leadership skills and the confidence that he has.”
She said it’s been interesting to watch Rose work so hard on something, though it is not out of the ordinary for him to do a large project for the benefit of others.
“It’s kind of normal for us, I guess,” Kelly Rose said. “He’s just always been that way, ever since he was little. It’s just a part of who he is, but every time he does something like this, we’re always so proud to see he has the willingness and determination.”
Rose said he would like to continue putting the concerts together over the summer because it helps him connect with classmates.
“It’s weird using Zoom because I do get to see my classmates and go to class with them, but I wish I could be with them in person because I’m about to graduate elementary school,” Rose said. “It’s still good to see everyone and bring a smile to someone’s face.”