Each year, Starlight invites Vincent Legacy Scholars and their families to the theatre for a holiday celebration dinner. The evening introduces the newest scholars, provides an opportunity for current scholars and alumni to share performing and life updates, and connects students and their families to Starlight staff and program donors, Greg and Rebecca Reid.
This year, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the celebration moved to a digital space with scholars and their families, program donors, Starlight staff and board members celebrating via Zoom on Tuesday, December 22.
“While we would have loved to have met in person, we knew that digital was the way to safely meet in the pandemic,” Andy Pierce, Starlight’s Community Engagement Manager, said. “This event is always a favorite of mine—to see the growth in the students is wonderful, and the group truly becomes a family throughout the years. The camaraderie and connection among the scholars is so much fun to see first-hand.”
Traditionally, this annual event also provides scholars a stage to flex their performance muscles. While there were no live performances virtually, Starlight staff created a compilation of Vincent Legacy Scholarship performances from the theatre’s newest initiative—Raise Our Voices. Four scholars participated in the inaugural season of the series.
Keeping in tradition, scholars shared a number of exciting updates with the group. Many continue to study performing arts in school or as an extracurricular, a few students have participated in online and virtual performances throughout the community and in school, and one scholar recently signed on to build puppets for an upcoming children’s television series with Netflix.
In addition to these exciting updates, 2009 Vincent Legacy Scholar Kalen Allen joined the call for a moderated Q&A session. Kalen found fame in Los Angeles after his videos critiquing food recipes went viral a couple of years ago. Now, he works for “The Ellen Show,” recently released a Christmas movie musical, and has a new show with Food Network that came out this month on Discovery+. Kalen admits that the entertainment industry is hard work.
“I’m the type of person who doesn’t wait for a seat at the table—I just build the table myself,” Kalen said. “Ninety-nine point nine percent of the time I don’t know what I’m doing. It’s a daily thing of just trying to figure it all out. Through years of being in this industry it’s still a tricky thing and very all over the place.”
Following the Q&A with Kalen, guests split into Zoom breakout rooms for a few quick rounds of get-to-know-you games with prizes awarded to winners at the end of each round. After final remarks, Rich closed the evening with a parody of the popular poem, “The Night Before Christmas”—that he wrote himself!
Overall it was a fun, festive evening. We wish all of the scholars a Happy New Year!