How Kids From Wisconsin Is Making Sure the Show Goes On

Kids From Wisconsin will be missed at local festival, but they are still bringing the show to homes throughout Wisconsin.

You might be used to seeing the Kids From Wisconsin troupe perform at summer festivals, such as the Wisconsin State Fair. Unfortunately, like most things, the Kids From Wisconsin tour this summer was canceled due to the coronavirus pandemic. But don’t fear, you can still watch this talented group from the comfort of your home.

KIDS Producer Taras Nahirniak created an online program to provide the KIDS an opportunity to learn and experience the music production they worked so hard to receive. The team rehearsed vocals, choreography and instrumentals on Zoom for six weeks and released a video of the troupe performing. You can check it out here.

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Mattie Kantor, one of the performers, is on her second and final summer as a principal singer and dancer for Kids From Wisconsin. She said that rehearsing virtually was a “really different experience,” citing the style of feedback as the biggest change.

Kantor said, “If you have 13 people all singing over Zoom it doesn’t line up,” but she used FaceTime to communicate with other troupe members and “work on vocals together.”

Kantor also said she went into virtual rehearsals not expecting the kind of community that is usually built while working in-person. But, “there definitely was a community because you reach out when you have a question or you want to ask one of the other troupe members ‘this is what I’m seeing in the choreography video, are you seeing the same thing?’”

Going forward into the rest of the summer, Kids From Wisconsin are continuing to work on its outreach program, Realize Your Dream. The program normally consists of workshops set up along the KIDS tour but this summer the workshops are online and can be accessed from home.  KIDS normally sets up workshops along its tour with Realize Your Dream, but this summer the workshops are online and can be accessed from home.

Kantor, an experienced Irish dancer, made an instructional video about Irish dancing including her teaching some moves and explaining the history of the dance.

Additionally, KIDS is taking this extra time in the summer to work on bringing more music and arts programs to Milwaukee Public Schools.

Although they were forced to work online, Kantor said, “The creative team … worked so hard to put something together and made sure we all got to experience at least a little bit of the performance education that we usually get.”

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Marla Hiller is an editorial intern at Milwaukee Magazine. She is a junior at Boston University majoring in international relations and minoring in journalism