LAKE ZURICH – When the COVID-19 pandemic prevented live entertainment at assisted living homes and children’s hospitals, a Lake Zurich High School senior took it upon himself to keep the music alive.
Daniel Kalarical created virtual jam concerts to be broadcast monthly to seniors and children.
The concerts are shown in four senior living homes and three children’s hospitals. Each one features Kalarical on piano or violin, along with 10 to 15 of his friends and fellow musicians.
Kalarical had performed live at Arboria of Long Grove Senior Living Community and Shriner’s Children’s Hospital in Elmhurst before the pandemic.
“I saw how music put joy on other people’s faces,” said Kalarical, who has been volunteering at homes for seniors and children’s hospitals since his freshman year. “I didn’t want the pandemic to deprive them of their experience with music.”
He records himself playing piano and violin and asks his friends to send him videos of their performances. He compiles the videos into one YouTube video and sends it out on the second Monday of every month.
Along with Arboria and Shriner’s, the videos go to Ann & Robert H. Lurie Children’s Hospital of Chicago, Rush Children’s Hospital in Chicago, Friendship Village Senior Citizens Homes in Schaumburg, The Auberge Senior Citizens Homes at Lake Zurich and even a Texas facility, the Encompass Health Hospice.
Representatives of the centers and hospitals have shared their appreciation for Kalarical and his efforts.
“Daniel and his talented students bring a wonderful mixture of contemporary and classical music to each of their videos,” wrote Jeannette Magdaleno, manager of lifelong learning and volunteer services at Friendship Village. “The professional quality of the videos reflect the time and care that Daniel takes putting them together. Our residents say thank you to Daniel and his students for their wonderful music and voices.”
Kalarical also has co-founded Tutor4Service with his friend and classmate Aiman Naqvi to provide free tutoring to students in kindergarten through 12th grade during the pandemic.
Using about 30 tutors – mostly fellow classmates and high school upperclassmen from the northwest suburbs – the organization has enrolled about 40 students.
Kalarical and Naqvi saw the need for Tutor4Service when they heard about parents struggling to manage their children’s virtual learning while also juggling full-time jobs.
“I really like making a positive impact and a difference in people’s lives, and I noticed there was a need for some extra educational resources, especially because of the pandemic,” said Kalarical, who plans to major in a science, such as psychology or cognitive sciences, in college, while also pursuing his passion for music.
While both Kalarical and Naqvi manage the tutoring service, Kalarical handles the virtual concerts on his own. Information for those who’d like to volunteer or use either the tutoring service or the virtual concerts can be found at www.tutor4service.org.
The efforts definitely have kept Kalarical busy, and his family couldn’t be prouder.
“It’s just been a rewarding experience,” said Kalarical’s mother, Rachel. ”We can look at all the people who’ve been impacted and know he’s brought joy to them.”
That sentiment can be found in the many thank-you notes sent by representatives of the senior facilities and children’s hospitals where Kalarical has performed.
“Today, more than ever, we need to focus on the silver linings out there,” wrote Chris Wilkinson of Lurie’s. “Amidst all the chaos there is the clarity of heart and soul … on display in full color in your collection of musical performances. It means a lot to us.”
“Our residents enjoy all the music,” wrote Linda Falson, volunteer services manager at Arboria. “They think you are very talented. Thank you so much for thinking of all [of us] here at Arboria and we look forward to more.”