It’s been a little more than a month since Beth Wheat, Kim Boda and Sharon Rizzo got together to create Big Bear Connected. And the group — which consists of a Facebook page, YouTube channel, Zoom conferencing and Instagram account — is 951 members strong.
So, what is Big Bear Connected and why does it matter? The goal was to create an open channel for the Big Bear community to share gifts, talents, entertainment and information through live and on-demand web content. Call it a virtual television entertainment network, if you will.
The site is monitored by Tori Waner, a Big Bear native who recently returned from a stint on tour with The Young Americans.
“Almost all of our content is recorded,” says Wheat. “If anyone misses a live event, they can still see it on our YouTube channel.”
Wheat encourages more people to become contributors to the Big Bear Connected programming. The group’s art, entertainment and social programming helps keep the Big Bear community in touch, even if it is via a computer or tablet. “We want everybody to know they can make contributions,” Wheat says. “The whole point is to feel connected.”
In addition to contributors, people can enjoy the events as consumers, either by themselves or by scheduling a watch party with friends. Information on how to become a contributor and to link or watch various programs is available on the group’s Facebook page.
Wheat says Big Bear Connected is not a forum for rants or debates. It’s a forum for togetherness and positivity. One example of the positive vibes is the group’s upcoming Joyful Noise Car Parade on Sunday, May 17. Read the story about the parade here or in the May 13 issue of the Big Bear Grizzly print or E-edition.
There are other programs, too. Joyful Noise is a nightly event where people can go outside their homes and make some noise in honor of first responders and essential workers. There are social gatherings and meditations, dance and art classes, interviews with Phil Hamilton, weekly concerts from MountainTop Strings and Snooz with Sooz story time with Suzy Carpenter. Also, each week are the Jukebox Singers, a live program featuring singers and entertainers from Big Bear.
The latest ongoing Big Bear Connected Facebook event is Thank a Big Bear Hero. People can post their thanks honoring a specific person or group in Big Bear.
Here is a list of programming and events available through Big Bear Connected:
• Nightly, 7 p.m., Joyful Noise showing support of Big Bear Valley essential workers and first responders.
• Ongoing — Thank a Big Bear Hero, post your thanks to a specific person or group on the Big Bear Connected Facebook page or email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
• Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays, 6 p.m., “Breathe and Wine Down” with Kim Boda.
• Tuesdays, 5:30 p.m., “Let Me Introduce You” with Phil Hamilton. Interviews with Big Bear residents.
• Thursdays, 5 p.m., “Senior Sipping Society” hosted by Nancy Walker.
• Fridays on Big Bear Connected You Tube, “Snooz with Sooz” afternoon stories with Suzy Carpenter and a local author.
• Fridays, 7:30 p.m., “Jukebox Singers” with Amber Carpenter and special guests for an evening of live music.
• Saturdays, 10 a.m., “Music and Memories with MountainTop Strings.”