LAKE WORTH BEACH, Fla. — The deadly coronavirus has created a school year unlike any other and area students in South Florida are adjusting to the impact.
But one Lake Worth Beach teen is embracing the change and reaching new audiences.
SPECIAL COVERAGE: Inspiring South Florida
For the past three years, Matt Stone, a 16-year-old singer and tribute artist, has juggled entertaining and school.
"During snowbird season and polo season I perform three to four times per week. And then once or twice a week during off-season and summer," said Stone.
Stone’s father, a Palm Beach County Sheriff’s Office detective, said his son's schedule is reflective of a stage presence and likeability that can’t be taught.
"I think he’s a great example for youth because he’s found his passion, his dream, and he’s locked in on it and the results are what they are. I really believe he really has it and the capability to make it," said Matt Stone, Sr.
Stone's natural talent and growing fan base has taken the two to Tennessee, California, Pennsylvania, Georgia, and even two auditions for "America’s Got Talent." But the travel and performances have come to a halt due to Florida's sweeping "stay at home" order.
"We did have a show booked in Canada, and that got canceled," said Stone, Sr.
Instead of stopping completely, the young entertainer is now engaging audiences through Facebook Live from his living room.
"Whatever gift you have, whatever you can bring, whether its anything from toilet paper to singing, just try to give it. Try to spread it as much as you can," Stone said.
ReTreat Behavioral Health clinical specialist Paul Kurlancheek said the rise of live streams and virtual concerts aren’t just mere entertainment. For some, they’re a lifeline.
"This is becoming an opportunity for growth for everyone on the planet," Kurlancheek said. "It’s not just a desire or a wish. It’s part of our programming. We’re programmed to be social animals."
Kurlancheek said it’s critical that people still have their physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual needs met. And technology is being stretched.
"Ask yourself, 'how am I going to serve those four dimensions today to make me healthier by the end of the day?" said Kurlancheek.
"They say music changes every six months, so you gotta kind of change with it," said Stone.
To see Matt Stone’s upcoming performance dates, click here.