For today’s Q&A with a local business owner, we hear from Melody Libonati, director of the Performing Arts Conservatory of New Canaan.
Here’s our exchange.
New Canaanite: Tell me about how the Performing Arts Conservatory is operating now.
Melody Libonati: The Performing Arts Conservatory has not had classes at 70 Pine Street in New Canaan since March 12. The ten teachers at the Conservatory started teaching on FaceTime and Zoom on March 16. I was so proud of how quickly all of the teachers learned to teach the performing arts online. Private classes in voice, piano and guitar and group classes in music theatre, acting and dance are all being taught.
How are you all doing?
We have a meeting once a week with all of the teachers to check in and share ideas to help each other. Luckily, as we all teach the arts, we are flexible and creative. We also know that right now it’s very important for our students to continue to find joy in their classes. After the initial shock and stress of adapting to online teaching, we are all having fun.
What has the response been like from the community?
Everyone has been extremely understanding and willing to take this difficult time seriously. Interestingly, we have students that are starting lessons now, since they didn’t have time when their schedules were so full.
What is your sense at this point of the ability of the Performing Arts Conservatory to outlast the crisis?
We have been offering more interesting events for the students. Many were part of the “Young Artists” with Kelli O’Hara online for Westport Playhouse, we are having a series of online Master Classes, we will be filming a group number with 45 students independently and creatively having our recitals and our 13 group class performances online if we are not able to resume teaching live. We can definitely outlast this crisis.
What is your message to students?
My message to everyone is find some joy in every day. We find it in “seeing” our students; singing, dancing and laughing. To the students, I say, we are so proud of how you have adapted to this situation, it hasn’t been easy and you are doing great.