A COVID STORY: The Movie

Hard to believe we’ve been burdened by COVID-19 for a year already. So much has changed. It’s devastated the lives of hundreds of thousands of Americans, with more than enough sadness and pain to go around. But there were also some uplifting outcomes during this tragic timeline, this is one of those stories. 

As the State of Maryland, under the wise and mindful leadership of Gov. Hogan, readied to shut down all nonessential businesses and begin a state-wide quarantine of no more than ten allowed to gather, the choral students of the Cornerstone Homeschool Cooperative were preparing for opening night of their 2020 high school musical. They’d quarantined together for six months, rehearsing a musical that was near and dear to their hearts, (and, I soon found out, mine too.) The word came down, the show would be cancelled, there would be no audience. 

Their Director, Casey Golden, asked me if we could somehow capture what they’d created on video, so at least their families could see the fruits of their rather intensive labor. Traveled two hours to see a rehearsal, as a filmmaker there was no question, these kids deserved more than just a couple cameras documenting a live performance to an empty room. 

The school appealed to Gov. Hogan and, realizing the students had all been quarantined together during their rehearsal period, he gave them a one-week reprieve. We had to keep it to a limited crew and wear masks at all times. The only time no masks were required was when the actors were being filmed.

Bought a Canon Vixia, (fits in your palm,) borrowed a second one and went to work. With me on one camera and Casey, (a first-time camera operator,) the second, we shot a two and a half hour movie in six days. It was nothing short of a miracle. We worked those kids to the bone, long days and late nights didn’t phase them, they were on a mission; it was inspiring. 

Spent the next several months editing and although we fought audio issues throughout, (had to filter the voices so much the poor piano got buried in mud,) the movie is a triumph for the cast. As the disclaimer says, technical issues aside, this is an extraordinary high school musical.     

Pilgrim the Musical