“As a person who grew up hugging and kissing people in hellos, goodbyes, tough times and joyous ones, it’s hard for me to not embrace someone during this pandemic,” says Desert Hot Springs vocalist Ana Rangel, who performed “You’ll Never Walk Alone” from Carousel and won a $500 grant to ‘Keep Art Alive’ from the California Desert Arts Council (CDAC).

CDAC and affiliate La Quinta Arts Foundation established a $50,000 Keep Art Alive fund to award grants to Coachella Valley artists and arts organizations who create thoughtful, inspiring, and relevant works.

“We are not walking this path alone,” says Rangel, pursuing a Master’s of Arts with an emphasis in vocal performance at University of Redlands and works as the lead singer at the United Methodist Church of Palm Springs. “We try to keep each other up lifted.”

Due to the pandemic, the university’s Opera Gala was canceled. A last year’s event — where the opera workshop, orchestra, and choir students give a recital — Rangel performed “O mio babbino caro” from Giacomo Puccini opera Gianni Schicchi. “The song is being sung by a teenage girl who is throwing a tantrum at her father, saying ‘Oh, dearest daddy, if I can’t marry him, I will die!’” she explains. “I actually find it quite funny that such wretched words were layered over such beautiful music.” This is her performance.