by Lorie Lewis Ham
Performers all over the world have been doing things to help others during this pandemic, including providing free entertainment for those stuck at home, and doing fundraisers for various charities. Local performer, Kailyn Sanders, who is only 12 years old, started doing video fundraisers of her own to help make a difference. Kailyn has been performing for eight years now, both in local shows with Good Company Players and Shine! Theatre in Fresno, and she was in a National Tour of A Christmas Story, the Musical. She has also been a member of Junior Company with GCP for five years. We chatted with this amazing young lady recently about her fundraising efforts.
KRL: What are some of the main stage shows you have been in?
Kailyn: Some of the main stage shows I’ve been in with Good Company Players are Annie, Newsies, and Hairspray. I have been in other shows at school and with Shine! Theatre.
KRL: How did you come up with the idea to do these fundraisers?
Kailyn: I came up with the idea of doing the fundraisers one morning. I was just sitting on my bed thinking about how Halloween was coming up and how I missed my friends, and I wanted to do something fun with them. Since I’m a musical theatre kid I wanted to do some kind of a performance. I then decided a few hours later that I wanted it to be a fundraiser, so after the October one I started doing monthly fundraisers that started in January.
KRL: How do you decide who will be singing in each one?
Kailyn: For my Halloween fundraiser, I asked everyone I knew who liked to perform- my school friends, tour friends and my friends from GCP. Then for the next one I asked a different group of theatre friends. Now, I’m asking people who have a connection to the fundraiser, to make it more personal. I try and get a mix of people to perform, so the audience isn’t seeing the same people over and over again.
KRL: How do you decide who the fundraiser will be for each month?
Kailyn: In October, I chose the Red Cross because they had been helping people around here from the Creek Fire. Then I watched a Broadway fundraiser on television in December that got me pumped to help the theatre community! I kicked off the year fundraising for Broadway Cares/Equity Fights Aids. I then started thinking about all the things that I love, (starting with Good Company Players) and made my schedule for the rest of the year. I want to help a variety of people, not just musical theatre-based charities, so soon I will also be fundraising for animal, hospital and other charities.
KRL: Does everyone record their own videos and send them to you? And then do you edit them and put them together, or does someone help you with that?
Kailyn: Everyone does record their own videos and send them to me, and I edit them all together. No one helps with that. For the October fundraiser, since it was the first one, I had my Uncle help me edit but the other ones I did on my own!
KRL: Who will you be fundraising for in March?
Kailyn: In March, I will be fundraising for Shine! Theatre, another local theatre in Fresno that I perform at and take classes with.
KRL: Do you plan to continue to do this for a while?
KRL: How can people know when a new video goes up?
Kailyn: If they subscribe to my YouTube channel (Kailyn Sanders), then click the notification bell, they can get notifications when I post new videos. My parents post on Facebook and Instagram as well.
KRL: What are your goals as a performer? (to someday do so professionally, or just continue to do so for fun?)
Kailyn: My long-term goal is to be on Broadway one day or to be a professional TV actress! For fun I would like to direct shows or choreograph at a dance studio!
KRL: What do you enjoy the most about doing these fundraisers?
Kailyn: The thing I enjoy the most is being able to connect with my friends again and hear them sing and watch them dance again. I miss live theatre so much, but this makes me feel like it hasn’t gone away for good. Another thing I enjoy is giving back to places that have helped or inspired me!
KRL: What has been the hardest?
Kailyn: The hardest thing would have to be the editing. I’m not the most tech savvy person, so editing can come as a challenge when a video isn’t cooperating with the software I use.
KRL: Anything else you would like to add?
Kailyn: I really hope everyone enjoys the upcoming fundraisers! I would like everyone to subscribe and like my YouTube channel and tell all of their friends, so we can really help these worthy charities!
Check out Kailyn’s video for GCP here and subscribe to her YouTube Channel and click for notifications so you don’t miss all of the wonderful video fundraisers coming this year. She hopes to have the next one up around March 12.
If you love local theatre, be sure to check out Mysteryrat’s Maze Podcast, which features mysteries read by local actors–many of whom you will have seen on local stages. You can find the podcast on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, and Google Podcasts, and also on Podbean.
Check out more local entertainment articles in our Arts & Entertainment section. We will be covering the Rogue Festival over the next week.