Virtual cheer: Group moves holiday performance online

  • Erin McClure, left, helps Michelle Kratel with her microphone before recording her live performance for the Hilo Community Player's virtual Christmas Cabaret in Hilo on Tuesday, Dec. 8, 2020. (Kelsey Walling/Tribune-Herald)

  • A camera records Johnson for the virtual cabaret. The live performances will be edited to create a cohesive production.

  • Michelle Kratel is filmed while singing a holiday song for the Hilo Community Players' virtual Christmas cabaret. Performers taped their acts live from a living room for the intimate, virtual show. (Kelsey Walling/Tribune-Herald)

  • Jackie Pualani Johnson performs a song dressed as a nun last week for the Hilo Community Players’ virtual Christmas cabaret in Hilo. Performers taped their acts live from a living room for the intimate, virtual show. (Photos by Kelsey Walling/Tribune-Herald)

Hilo holiday programs set their sights to online streaming to bring music, dancing and holiday cheer to households during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Hilo Community Players announced four showings its “A (Virtual) Christmas Cabaret,” which will feature about 30 holiday performances that were filmed live and edited together to create a cohesive cabaret.


Some talent this year includes Norman Arancon, Jackie Pualani Johnson, Michael Stevens, Jeri Gertz and Erin Smith.

Rachel Klein, president of the HCP board of directors, offered a corner of her living room to record the acts before editing the show together. Technicians, musicians and camera operators all wore masks and sanitized touched surfaces after every use.

“We wanted to create an intimate living room-to-living room show since we can’t actually perform live,” Klein said. “We wanted to create a safe, comfortable atmosphere that will help watchers feel at home.”

To help lessen the financial strain, the University of Hawaii at Hilo Performing Arts Department and Paradise Performing Arts Center donated some equipment to help HCP transition to a virtual program.

“The skills and equipment needed to film this are totally different than stage performances,” Klein said. “We’ve had to spend a lot to make this change as a nonprofit, so this will be a helpful fundraiser for us.”

“A (Virtual) Christmas Cabaret” will be available to watch at 7:30 p.m. this evening, 2:30 p.m. and 7:30 p.m. on Sunday, and 7:30 p.m. on Dec. 24.


Tickets can be purchased at, which also is where the shows will be streamed from.

Email Kelsey Walling at

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