Vail Place Gears Up During COVID to Offer a Virtual Experience

Vail Place Gears Up During COVID to Offer a Virtual Experience

“Please keep up the amazing work you’re doing with individuals, as well as the systemic changes you’re making with your high-level hospital partnerships. That’s the kind of thing that can make a huge difference in the lives of so many, many people – both club members, their families, and our community as a whole.” -Bob B.

Our first virtual Dr. Vail Hour – Gearing Up for Changing Times – required even more collaboration than previous events and receiving so many comments like the one above was a reward in itself. There’s simply no way to describe the enormous amount of work that was required, both behind the scenes and in front, to create what was essentially our first Vail Place “movie.” We used humor to highlight many of the foibles and faux pas we’re all going through as we navigate a world that’s nearly entirely online, and that seemed to resonate with many viewers. There were an overwhelming number of positive responses to this year’s event and we couldn’t be more grateful.

Once again Stefano and Mary, Jonathan, Katie and the cast brought their brilliance (to a virtual stage this time) with stories, inspiring music and even dancing feet! The video format gave us an even better opportunity to feature the many community partners that helped support the Dr. Vail Hour this year, from interviews with key leaders to fun jingles for every sponsor. (Want to see the jingles? Click here watch them on our YouTube channel.)

Donations were tracked via a clever thermometer, allowing us to see our progress along the way. Another advantage of the virtual format was that we were also able to provide the Dr. Vail Hour 2020 in video format and we’re thrilled to see how many people continue to watch Gearing Up for Changing Times both on Facebook and at

“I was impressed with how you made the virtual production fun, entertaining and interactive. The techie in me was thinking ‘how in the world are they doing this?’ Hats off to Stefano and the entire team for pulling it off.” – Ron C.  

I’m often asked how the heck we pull a performance like this together? While it’s always a big challenge, COVID added even more complexity this year. In typical Vail Place fashion, we decided to embrace change, evolve and move forward by designing the entire concept of the production – start to finish – around the concept of a virtual experience. In July, Stefano and Mary began retooling the performance from a stage production into a virtual format, requiring an enormous amount of creativity, persistence, and yep, plain old sweat. In the end we accomplished our goal, delivering a powerful and unique version of the Dr. Vail Hour for 2020. I am so incredibly impressed by this group’s ingenuity and stick-to-itive-ness.

I have to finish this quick recap by thanking all the people and organizations that powered our efforts to deliver this year’s Dr. Vail Hour. All the hours spent in development, rehearsal, technical planning, and all the other elements of the show were made possible by:

Our Community Partners:

Delta Dental of Minnesota, Blue Cross Blue Shield Minnesota, Cisco, SUCCESS Computer Consulting, North Memorial Health, Fredrikson & Byron, Health Partners, Old National Bank, Schatz Real Estate Group, SPIRE Credit Union, USI, Xcel Energy, Bremer Bank, and the Hanover Insurance Group.

Our Performance Team:

Music by Mary Irey, Show and Jingle Lyrics by Stefano LoVerso
Book by Stefano LoVerso and Mary Irey
Digital Orchestration and Music for “The Clubhouse” and Jingles by Jonathan Andress, Video Editing by Jonathan Andress, Piano Accompaniment by Jenny Larson.
Directed by Stefano LoVerso and Mary Irey
Cast: Jonathan Andress, Katie Berfeldt, Vicky Couillard, Kevin Fillips, Calynn Hendrickson, Robin Hoy, Jude Mostek, Gwen Rising Sun, Samantha Sands, Randall Thaden, Richard Whitman