Spark Boca Grande TV: Socially distant entertaining to keep you going

April 10, 2020
By Marcy Shortuse

BY OLIVIA CAMERON – In the time of social distancing, the island has now taken to YouTube to unveil hidden talents. Entertainment is now virtual, and you can find it all on Spark Boca Grande TV.

The YouTube channel was born from inspiration at the beginning of April. Erica Ress Martin created the program to showcase creativity and remind the community that no one should feel alone while being cooped up at home.

Spark Boca Grande originally put on small performances to support fundraisers. Erica would produce shows with shorter rehearsal times and the group would gather donations for organizations like the Suncoast Humane Society. “Rescue Me!” and “Rescue Me, Too!” have been island fan favorites, where the group of performers have dedicated love songs to their animals and have even become a cast of creatures.

“The idea behind Spark is to encourage friends to perform in a low key environment while raising money,” said Erica.

Erica reveled in islander talent and decided to carry the crew to the internet. On their newfound YouTube channel, Spark Boca Grande TV, performers and residents alike have the opportunity to reveal hidden talents.

“It’s exciting to receive calls and videos from people who want their work up on the channel,” said Erica. “This is an opportunity for people who want to expand their talents in some way.”

If you’re interested in musical numbers, acting, comedy skits, or entertainment coaching by Sally B. Johnson, this is the place for you.

The YouTube channel highlights hip-hop breakdowns from Karen Snyder, the vocal talent of Sharon Ponte, skits by Erica herself, and others. Viewers can also get cooking with “Home with Heidi,” acted by Elaine Skypala, or get a pleasant musical surprise by father-daughter duo Bill and Allison Whitney.

RPP stars Alice Court, Julia Pierce and Linda Rollyson also make an appearance on the channel’s most viewed video, singing in the style of the Andrews Sisters.

Spark Boca Grande TV now has 1,600 views and 1,400 shares.

Looking back on her leadership roles of Grande Glee and Royal Palm Players, Erica felt people’s creativity shouldn’t go to waste amidst the pandemic.

In the near future, the group hopes to livestream a play put together by multiple playwrights’ new works.

The channel will continue to encourage the islanders to uncover their skills and tryout for RPP or join Grande Glee.

For more information or if you’re interested in uploading to the channel, contact Erica by phone at 964-7465 or by email at sparkbocagrande@gmail.com.