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FAST FIVE Daniel Connelly: Mr. Entertainer

by DEVIN WEEKS
Staff Writer | January 23, 2021 1:00 AM

Meet Daniel Connelly, a teacher, director, manager, actor, dancer, DJ, adventurist, husband and father of four little ones!

Generation:

Technically, I fall into the millennial age group, but I don’t consider myself to fit well with any of the stereotypical generational labels. I like to think of myself as my own unique brand of human being.

Career and community involvement:

As far as a career, I am almost a jack of all trades. During the school year, I am the drama, speech and music instructor as well as the student activities director at Summit Christian Academy (a private elementary school). On the weekends and during the summer, I DJ lots of weddings, dances and parties! I also do a lot of random freelance projects like acting, directing, filmmaking, swing dance teaching and running summer camps. I even sometimes fill in the gaps with things like yard work, building websites or social media marketing! As for community involvement, I am a Sunrise Rotarian, a member of the Lair (part of the Innovative Collective) and run a swing dance group called Daniel and the Gang where 30 to 200 youth/young adults gather to swing dance the night away!

Parental status:

I have been happily married to my lovely wife, Hope, for six years, and we have four beautiful children: Felicity (5), Luke (4), David (2) and Trinity (3 months).

1) How are things in the world of local theater, and what projects do you have going on at this time?

Things are pretty rough for local theater right now since not much is happening. Live theater works very hard under normal circumstances to maintain viable economic status. If you take the main form of income (ticket sales) out of the equation, both actors and theater companies are going to feel the hard impact. However, personally, I have been fortunate enough to stay busy. I just wrapped up managing the cast of the Journey to the North Pole Holiday Lights Cruises at The Coeur d’Alene Resort, and I am now coaching the students of the Summit Christian Academy in our annual school-wide speech meet (public speaking) which will commence on Feb. 4, while simultaneously directing them in our annual fully staged spring musical which will premiere on March 25. This year we are doing "The Lions, the Switch, and the Warm Robes: The story of Daniel and the Lion’s Den with a Narnia twist."

2) What can we as a community do to support those in the arts as we continue to navigate COVID protocols and restrictions?

Many theater groups are finding creative ways to still get entertainment out there: filming, Zoom shows, character meet-and-greet video conferences, etc. We should support these when we can. Of course, there are always flat donations to companies, and when theater does come back, we should support them by going to see as many shows as we can. It is often much more fun than going to the movie theater!

3) How are you going about preparing your students for their futures, and what are a few learning lessons you've experienced in the past year?

One of the most valuable things I teach my students is to be brave, bold and confident, not only on the stage, but in all aspects of life! These traits become even more important to live out when the world is in a state of crisis as we are now. This year especially, I have learned just how comforting a warm smile can be to those around us. We have to be the lights in times of darkness!

4) What is something people would be surprised to learn about you?

People are often surprised to learn that I come from a large family of 9 kids. I was homeschooled along with my four brothers and four sisters all the way up to college, by my mother, who has been 100% handicapped since she was a 22-year-old. She is a living legend.

5) What is your ultimate dream, as a teacher and as an artist, for North Idaho's performing arts scene?

It is my dream to see North Idaho’s performing arts scene grow. There is a wealth of talent in our community just waiting to be tapped. People who don’t even realize their performing potential yet are just waiting to be discovered. I hope to keep directing and producing more and more live entertainment that will fill the souls of the entertainers and the hearts of the audience.