Arts / Performing Arts

HSPVA’s Beloved MusicFest Morphs Into a 24-Hour Livestream Extravaganza — Houston’s Most Artistic Kids Find a Creative Solution to 2020

Nonstop Performances, Famous Alums and a Spaghetti Twist Await

BY // 12.02.20

Celebrating the performing arts in the middle of a pandemic can be difficult, but there are still ways to come together and support local artists. Artists are known for their creativity and Kinder High School for the Performing and Visual Arts is certainly showing that with the creation of a day-long virtual music festival.

Keeping the arts alive during these times of social distancing is no small feat. But that’s exactly what the students, faculty and alumni at HSPVA are determined to do.

Kinder High School for the Performing and Visual Arts is still hosting its annual MusicFest this Friday and Saturday, December 4 and 5. Only this year instead of the usual in-person fest, it’s a 24-hour livestream. The fundraiser extravaganza kicks off at 6 pm Friday and runs nonstop through 6 pm Saturday.

HSPVA MusicFest Ensemble
A choir performing during HSPVA’s MusicFest 2019.

 

“This is an annual event that goes back to the very first year of the school in 1971,” says Alene Haehl Coggin, executive director of HSPVA Friends. “This is a twist on our longest-running HSPVA tradition which is a big community event. For many years it was called Spaghetti Supper where the ticket price was designed so that the most people possible could come in so we always just crammed the campus full of 1,6oo guests with music rotating through four different theaters on the campus.

“And so when the pandemic hit we knew we still needed to have this event to raise money for the program.”

HSPVA Friends’ creative solution was to put together the 24-hour livestream.

“The scale of the music festival was something that we needed to get creative to figure out how to replicate,” Coggin says. “If you normally have four stages going for four hours that’s already 16 hours of music and so we knew that a typical virtual concert was not going to cut it if we were still going to have the level of community participation and student participation that we normally have for this event.

“And so that’s where we got the idea to do an old-fashioned 24-hour music marathon in the grand tradition of 24-hour telethon fundraisers where anybody can tune in for free. . . We  just hope that people donate when they watch because I know that they’ll be inspired by the students and how hard they’ve all worked.”

The 24-hour marathon will be filled with musical performances including classical piano, jazz, mariachi, pop, orchestra, and holiday chorus shows. There also will be alumni performances. One of HSPVA’s most notable alumni Jason Moran — an American Jazz icon — will stop by and say hello. Elizabeth Priestly Siffert, the principal oboe with the Houston Ballet and Houston Grand Opera orchestras, will be spotlighted, too.

Siffert will talk about what her HSPVA background has meant to her. 

In another MusicFest tradition, HSVPA vocal teacher Julia Hall will teach everyone how to cook the school’s classic spaghetti sauce recipe. Coggin notes that Hall, “sent in a full cooking demonstration, Food Network style, of the original Spaghetti Supper spaghetti recipe from the ’70s that all of  the alumni have had to cook.

“The reason we did a Spaghetti Supper with the music festival was because it was so affordable. All of the students’ parents would get this recipe for spaghetti sauce on a little index card. And they would prepare it at home and then all of the students would bring their spaghetti sauce to school — basically just daisy chain crockpots of spaghetti sauce down the hallway.

“. . So it was just this ridiculous spaghetti sauce buffet that was all supposed to be the same recipe but you know each mom had a little variation.”

Some traditions must go on. With kids this creative, there is always a way.

To watch and learn more about HSPVA’s 24-hour virtual MusicFest, go to the event’s page. You can donate here.

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