The Light Given by A Song of Hope 

Emma Delk, Staff Reporter

On Saturday, January 27, Fairmont State University, West Virginia University, and the Robinson Grand collaborated to present A Song of Hope, a virtual event made to promote and display performing arts in the community. Students, graduates, and teachers from Fairmont State, West Virginia University, and the Fairmont State University Academy for Arts Students all performed at the event, showing how despite Covid-19, the show can go on. All proceeds from the event were donated to the United Way of Marion and Taylor County. 

The show featured a diverse array of performances. The opening number of the show featured the Fairmont State University Academy of Arts students, which had a wide variety of ages levels performing, from elementary school up to high school. They put on a charming performance of “There’s No Business Like Show Business” by Irving Berlin from the musical Annie Get Your Gun. These children and teenagers showed the bright future of the arts at Fairmont, as they displayed their talents and confidence on stage with the ease of a veteran performer. 

After the opening number, Mirta Martin, President of Fairmont State University, shared a couple of words about the event and how Covid-19 has affected the arts. She imparted hope to the audience, saying, “We are beginning to see some light at the end of the Covid tunnel, and that light, that hope, is what this performance is celebrating.” A Song of Hope displayed that light and hope within every performance, as one could feel the joy within each performer through the computer screen. E. Gordon Gee, President of West Virginia University, shared the same sentiment as Mirta Martin with his speech, further elaborating on the importance of the arts, especially in a time of crisis.  

There were 14 total performances within the program, featuring a wide variety of talents. There were many instrumental performances, the WVU Aether Quartet performed a very intense and suspenseful rendition of “Mission Incredible” by Cheng Yu Tai, using not only flutes but also stomps, claps, and snaps to create the music. There were also vocal performances, including a beautiful vocal duet performed by Sarah Nale and Joshua Stubbs. They performed a touching rendition of “Beautiful City” by Stephen Schwartz from the musical Godspell and “The Human Heart” by Stephen Flaherty from the musical Once on This Island. Joshua Stubbs shared some thoughts about getting to perform, “Before this we kind of took for granted when something was coming up. And sometimes we would even get overwhelmed by performances, like around Christmas time.” Today, concerts are not a dime a dozen, so events like A Song of Hope, even virtual, provide us with a vital outlet to see the arts.  

A Song of Hope was the ray of light needed at a time when live performances of any type are difficult to come by. This hope was needed, not only for the audience but for the performers as well, as the deprivation of the arts brought by the pandemic has stifled them. Luke Elam, who performed “Sonata for E-Flat Alto Saxophone and Piano” by Henri Eccles, put this need into words, saying, “Music, to us, is as basic a need as food or water or sleep.”  Unfortunately, Covid-19 took away the sound of live performance for many when it was most needed, but A Song of Hope showed it is still possible to hear that sound again.