By Dan Russo
BELLEVUE — The principal of Marquette Catholic High School recently found a way to unite families in the Bellevue area for a virtual shindig at a time when the coronavirus pandemic is keeping people physically apart.
Geoff Kaiser created a video called “Family Dance Party” that stars families from the entire spectrum of Marquette’s K-12 school system. The participants groove to an original tune composed by the principal. The project has a surprise ending where Kaiser and his wife Kelsey, while dancing with their two sons, Creighton and Beckett, reveal that they are awaiting a new addition to their clan.
“Originally, the video wasn’t going to include any announcement about Kelsey and I expecting our third child,” explained Kaiser. “I wanted to put a song together to inspire hope during these unusual times. I’ve always enjoyed dancing and, now that we have a small family, we spread joy with our children by putting on some good tunes and taking a mental break and moving around the kitchen or living room. I know I’m not alone in this and so, I emailed families and I asked if they could send me a short video of their family dancing. The response was awesome. Full families, siblings, and teachers took their turns at dancing — more importantly, you see families that are laughing together and having fun during these crazy times.”
Chris Medinger, a computer science teacher and information technology specialist with Marquette Catholic Schools, was among the people who appeared dancing in the video. His children Jonathan, Alyssa and Karter joined him.
“They were okay with it until the camera came out; then they were a little shy,” recalled the father. “It didn’t take them long to warm up.”
The children were excited to be able to connect with friends that were also appearing in the recording, which lasts a little over four minutes. Medinger said projects like the video are important for the community.
“I thought it was a great way to lift spirits in our area,” said Medinger. “When Jeff makes videos, he does a great job.”
Medinger explained that everyone has had difficulties because of the isolation caused by the pandemic. The “dance party” was one way to let students and families know that faculty and staff of the schools were there for them.
“Even though we don’t see each other in person, we’re thinking about them,” said the teacher. “We’re still here to support them. We’re all here for each other.”
Kaiser and Medinger share a love for music and both play in a local cover band. The principal had fun not too long ago making videos to communicate with students during a winter full of snow days. For his latest effort, Kaiser spent hours working on it. He integrated special effects and other production elements.
“This was a creative outlet for me and I was able to work on different portions of the project between all of the Zoom meetings, the state reporting, and the constant efforts to communicate with parents, students, and stakeholders of Marquette,” said Kaiser.
The educator usually uses rap in his videos to connect with his audience. With “Family Dance Party,” he aimed to express faith and hope as well as to help the participants have a good time.
“I wanted to celebrate the opportunity for families to grow together but the reality is, many families are struggling right now,” he said. “I wrote the opening line, ‘This is the day the Lord has made, let us rejoice and be glad in it. No asterisk, no fine print, today is a gift – that’s why it’s the present’ as a way to say, ‘This is hard right now, but we’re here on this new day and it is a special day if we just recognize God’s presence in our lives.’”
Kaiser’s video was posted in late April. It can be viewed on YouTube by searching for his name and “Family Dance Party” or by visiting the following link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SRUA3BhQJh0&t=45s
Cover photo: A family from Bellevue’s Marquette Catholic School system dances in front of a fire truck during the Family Dance Party video created by Marquette High School principal Geoff Kaiser. (Contributed photo)