At the Crossroads School for the Arts and Sciences,music and live performances are essential—and not just for students. Each spring, the Santa Monica, California, U.S., school hosts a parent fundraiser for financial aid with live performances. Every three years, that fundraiser is an original musical production.
When the pandemic threw a plot twist into the K–12 school’s plans for a rock and roll–themed event, the alumni and parent community jumped into action.
In May 2020, Crossroads pivoted to host a virtual concert called Couchella. The 90-minute show of alumni and community performances was written, filmed, and edited by parent volunteers—in just six weeks.
“It’s still stunning to me that we were able to pull it off in such a short period of time,” says Mery Grace Castelo, Director of Parent Relations and Special Events. “I have to give a shout-out to our community for being incredibly generous with their time and talent.”
The name was a play on Coachella, the California music festival that many in the Crossroads community attend; it’s jokingly called an unofficial school holiday, explained Castelo.
Many Crossroads families are involved in the music industry. Back in 2019, Castelo collected videos of alumni and parents’ musical performances. She’d planned to show the video at the in-person 2020 fundraiser, but instead put out a new call to community members for video clips for the newly conceived Couchella. Two alumnae actors volunteered to host, prerecording clips to play between music segments. The show raised $700,284 for financial aid and brought the school community together during a time of pandemic isolation and uncertainty.
For 2021, when it was clear they couldn’t return to in-person events yet, Cossroads brought that same spirit of collaboration back for Crossroads Night Live, a virtual comedy show.