Creatively confronting COVID
When the COVID-19 pandemic hit in March, businesses and schools had the option of either temporarily closing or creatively reimagining how to continue operating. Creativity and imagination are Wayne and Muffy Hoover’s calling cards. As the owners of Quality Music and Dance, as well as being gifted performing arts teachers, they have dedicated their lives to teaching young people how to harness and creatively develop their innate talents. When the challenges of COVID arrived, their creativity took center stage.
“Many music and dance studios closed their doors,” Muffy explains, “but we went immediately to online classes. Throughout the initial shutdown our students continued to receive instruction.”
“With no sports or after school activities this fall, now might be the best time to consider music and dance lessons for your childMusic and dance are great activities for mind and body.”
– Wayne Hoover
“The reaction from our students and their families has been very positive,” Wayne observes. “Going forward after the pandemic, we will keep online classes as an option.”
April Klinger is one of the many parents who were astounded by how quickly and creatively Wayne, Muffy and their staff met the moment.
“Muffy and Wayne jumped in and everyone worked together to figure it out,” she says, the amazement in her voice palpable. “My daughter- who’s a competitive dancer, another student, along with their teachers modeled all of the various dance techniques and recorded them on videos. From these recordings, they built a virtual online library of different dance styles that all of the kids could access. Even if students weren’t studying a particular style of dancing, they could go online and learn it if they wanted.”
Now that restrictions have eased up, Quality also offers in-person music and dance classes in its studio. “We are strictly following the current guidelines,” Muffy affirms. “We’ve reduced our class sizes and taped off our studio floor so each child has their own space for social distancing. Our objective has always been to offer individualized instruction through smaller-sized classes in a family-friendly studio. Now we’ve taken things to a whole new level. We’re trying to paint this entire pandemic in a positive light and make the best of a bad situation.”
“We were even able to have our dance recitals,” Muffy continues. “Instead of having all the classes do one big recital together, each class did their own mini recital. Social distancing was observed both on stage and in the audience. We spaced the dancers apart. Each student could have three guests in the audience. Then we sanitized the entire space between each performance. It took us four days and lots of these smaller recitals, but our dancers had the experience of wearing their costumes and performing live for their parents. We did these recitals at the end of June, after the state was already in phase two.
“I’ve never seen anything like it!” April exclaims. “The recital’s theme was “The Circus.’ Wayne and Muffy rented props and scenery so that the entire front of their studio looked like a huge circus tent. It was spectacular! While setting everything up, Muffy felt bad, and apologized that this year’s recital might not be on as grand of scale of those in the past. I laughed and said, “You’ve got to be kidding me! This is better than most recitals!’ They started the mini recitals on Thursday and went all the way through the weekend. A family of three sat together and were spaced six feet away from another family of three. I can’t imagine the thought that went into that. I work for the school system- and the logistics alone must have been daunting, but they made it work spectacularly!”
“It was such a good experience for the kids because all of their other end-of-the-school-year special activities had been called off,” Muffy remarks.
Creativity and imagination are Wayne and Muffy Hoover’s calling cards.
To top the school year off right, Quality Music and Dance even had a “mini-graduation ceremony” for high school seniors. “The kids got to wear their caps and gowns,” Wayne recalls. “We even played “Pomp and Circumstance,’ and at the close, everyone threw their caps in the air.”
In addition to dance classes, Quality offers a wide variety of music lessons including piano, guitar, voice, drums, violin, viola, and cello. These classes are for students of all ages- as 64-year-old Jeff Parker discovered a year and a half ago.
“I decided to learn to play the violin because I always loved the sound of that instrument,” Jeff explains. “I had no knowledge of music at all, and when I first went to the studio, I had no idea where it would lead because so many of the students were young. But it has been a fantastic experience and I have learned so much. Now I can sit in my backyard and play “Ode to Joy.” I wanted my grandkids to have the memory of their grandpa playing the violin. And now when my two-year-old grandson comes over, he sits on the floor and waits for me to play. I’m having a blast, but it’s not just because I’ve learned to play the violin. I really enjoy being around all of these good people at Quality.”
Heading into the fall, Quality will continue to offer it’s full-range of dance and music classes.
“Because our June dance recital was a success, we’re planning for our music students to do an in-person music recital during the holiday season,” Muffy says. “We’ll follow our mini recital model: a number of students- probably no more than ten- performing for a small number of family members, sanitizing the chairs and space between each recital. We’re looking to start these in November and continue through December. The whole point of musical performance is to share your talents with others, preferably live and in-person.”
“You really have to be able to reinvent the wheel when so much is thrown your way,” Muffy continues. “Our whole purpose is about getting kids together to perform and do things for others. It’s been a challenge. I’ve been trying to really think like a kid: what do they like to do? What are they missing out on with so many activities no longer available because of the pandemic?”
“Parents of our students really appreciate that their kids have something to do,” Wayne remarks. “With no sports or after school activities this fall, now might be the best time to consider music and dance lessons for your child. Give us a call and we’ll give you lots of options for your child. Music and dance are great activities for mind and body.”
“If your child has an interest in music or dance, I encourage you to check out all that Quality Music and Dance has to offer,” April concludes. “I promise, you will be blown away.”