Helena Virtual Festival showcases local talent, positive messages

By NATHAN HOWELL | Special to the Reporter

HELENA – The Helena Virtual Festival and Social Distancing Talent Show is bringing the community together to enjoy the talents of residents during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Since the festival’s Facebook group became public on April 17, there have been more than 15 entries showcasing singing, guitar playing, dancing, gymnastics and even puppetry.

The goal of the contest is for entrants to explain the importance of staying home and to provide entertainment to the public from a safe distance.

“I hope you’re all doing well and keeping safe. I’m sure we’re all hoping this crazy situation will be over soon,” said Susan Putley-Bohli in her video showcasing her version of “Wicked Game” by Chris Issak.

One of the most popular videos in the group so far features 5-year old Pippa Daspit singing a parody of “Part of Your World” from The Little Mermaid, rewritten by her mother Kelly Daspit to reflect on the current environment.

Jessica Meuse, who was a contestant on the 13th season of American Idol, submitted her performance of The Cranberries song “Zombie.”

“If you can stay home, stay home. It’s a crazy time in the world, remember to wash your hands and wash your face,” she said.

Carley Wheeler, who is in the seventh grade, also received a lot of positive feedback after a strong performance of Taylor Swift’s “You Belong With Me,” and has received 185 likes and five shares.

Other popular entries include Emi and Brian Reed performing “This Town” by Niall Horan, Meg Coston singing “Red Dirt Girl” by Emmylou Harris, Macie and Emma Kate Bridgewater doing gymnastics and Isabella Stevens and her puppet friend Gizmo singing “Rise Up” by Andra Day.

There are many other entries all showcasing their talents and competing for a $50 prize, which will be decided on following Friday, April 24.

To see these and more entries visit the festival’s page at Facebook.com/groups/HelenaVirtualFest.