Vocalists perform "Tomorrow" from Annie. 

Two Scotts Valley companies are adapting their businesses to new business models and making an impact on the community at the same time. For Performance Vocal, teacher Bobbie Ward started conducting vocal lessons via Zoom, just as teachers and dance instructors are doing all over the county. For Tam Communications, they have produced television commercials for area clients to market on-line stores (Om Gallery) and curbside/to go service (Kianti’s Pizza and Pasta). They also produced pro-bono commercials and social media videos for the Tri-County food banks to help them raise funds to source more food. They are now moving on to other projects for other clients that will help organizations survive and eventually thrive again.

But it was the collaboration between both firms that has brought them the most joy to date. Ward, seeing the disappointment her kids had been experiencing as we sheltered in place, came up with the idea of a music video to not only cheer up her students and give them something to do but to spread that cheer to the world. “It just popped into my head seven weeks ago,” said Ward, owner of Performance Vocal. “And then I knew the song, immediately. Tomorrow, it’s my go-to song when I want a positive outlook.’

One of Ward’s students, Liliana Eymann, happens to be the daughter of Regan Eymann, producer at Tam Communications, founded by her parents Tam and Susan O’Connor Fraser. “I approached my parents about doing this,” notes Eymann, “and their response was an enthusiastic yes.”

What came next was a lot of hard work, especially on the part of the 24 featured vocalists. “Lots of practice and coaching, many, many takes so that we captured the right facial expressions, big smiles, and eye contact with the camera…something that’s not that easy to do,” details Ward. It also involved working with the families to pick the right location in their home, create the right lighting, and the best settings for their mobile phone cameras. And everyone was tasked with watching “The Brady Bunch” opening title sequence for what to do during the instrumental portion of the song.

It took a few weeks to get all the video in and then it was Ward and her music arranger/editor, Tom Tomasello’s, turn to work their magic and create the perfect composition. Ward also created a matrix of her idea for the final visuals before all the material was transferred to Tam Communications for editor, Tam O’Connor Fraser to take it from there. As with most projects, he brought a lot of his own ideas to Ward’s vision. Putting in long hours and editing into the night, it was the kind of project that he loves to do. “I’m a musician and an editor so being able to tap both skillsets was very satisfying,” notes O’Connor Fraser. When Tam finally did the big reveal, Ward noted “It was magical! I cried the first time I saw it and then sobbed and watched it ten more times!”


But all those involved agreed, the best part was watching the faces of the young artists see it for the first time during a Zoom meeting. They smiled and laughed, and you could see they were so proud. Ward adds, “It’s the kids that made it all worth it. Mission accomplished!”

After completion, the next task was to share the love, primarily through Facebook but also through news sources and organizations like the Chamber of Commerce and Think Local First Santa Cruz, who are also invested in our community. The hope is to make the YouTube video go viral. You can watch the video here:  https://youtu.be/eH9sUvu9FV8

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