Put "e-festivity" on the list of ways to drum up some cheer during the holiday season in a pandemic.
A variety show that was staged at the Garden City Hotel is scheduled to stream online Friday as in-person gatherings are considered dangerous during the coronavirus pandemic.
The free Virtual Village Show has so far registered people outside of Long Island, including from Florida and Australia, to watch the performances, said Phillip Hammond, the show's writer and producer.
"It’s not just for the people in Garden City," said Hammond, of Garden City New York Media.
In addition to Christmastime music and holiday revelry and a "doggy fashion show," Hammond said three local awards will be given to those who have gone "above and beyond" during the pandemic: the Hometown Hero Award, the First Responder Award, and the Essential Worker Award.
The Hometown Hero — actually, hometown heroes — are the 40 or so members of the Garden City Community Church’s youth group, Hammond said. Ordinarily doing good deeds elsewhere in the United States and on international travel, the group retooled during the pandemic to make snack bags and hold fundraisers for an organization that serves hungry and homeless Long Islanders. Hammond called the youth group’s deeds "outstanding volunteer work in the community."
The First Responder Award is being given to the Mineola Volunteer Ambulance Corps for serving the area during the pandemic. And the Essential Worker Award is being bestowed upon Lauren Lavelle, a sixth-grade teacher at Garden City Middle School.
Hammond’s wife, through her travel agency, Jus Adventures Travel Services of Melville, is giving a paid trip for four days to Jamaica for Lavelle that is scheduled after the pandemic ends, he said. "Right now, it’s set for August 2021," he said, when safe travel may once again be possible. "So hopefully, it’s over by then."
The show’s production budget is about $80,000, which pays for the crew, equipment, props and transportation, he said. The crew and cast followed the federal Centers for Disease Control COVID-19 guidelines and recorded in separate rooms and studios, he said.
Garden City New York Media initially aimed to raise money to cover production costs and to donate about $10,000 to a charity and businesses in Garden City affected by the pandemic, he said, but, "unfortunately, corporations and businesses that would normally sponsor the show couldn’t this year," he wrote in an email.
"We decided to produce and finance the show ourselves and bring awareness to businesses and local organizations by featuring them and providing ad space throughout the show," he said.
The entertainment, pretaped at the Garden City Hotel, includes:
The "Santa Claus Boogie," "Step Into Christmas," "Breath of Heaven," "Wizards in Winter," by the students of the Broadway Bound Dance Center
A house jazz band
"Silent Night," "O Holy Night," "Jingle Bells" and piano and viola performances by the Music Academy Foundation
Virtual Village Show
Streaming at virtualvillageshow.com for 90 minutes beginning at 8 p.m. on Friday
50 to 60 children, most between the ages of 7 and 17 years old
Register on the site to gain access to the show