Young singer stages sidewalk shows to cheer up neighbors

Eva Mather is performing songs for her neighbors during the stay-at-home order.

Eva Mather, a 7-and-a-half-year-old first-grader from Sage Canyon Elementary School, has taken to entertaining her community during the stay-at-home order. Her 15-minute early evening sidewalk shows have become a hit with her neighbors on Willowmere Lane in Carmel Valley, known as Willowmerians.

“I wanted to cheer up my neighbors and I love singing,” said Eva.

“A lot of people say it is the highlight of their day,” said her dad, Brian.

Eva said she got her start entertaining early, performing in preschool plays. She eventually joined the San Diego Children’s Choir. While she is missing out on choir practices and performances, these days the choir is still getting together virtually to sing on Zoom.

All this time at home has led to a lot of singing, “Sometimes I sing and play the piano at the same time,” she said, other times she cues up her favorites on her karaoke machine.

The neighborhood shows started when a post on the Willowmerians’ online group suggested that everyone come out at 7 p.m. one evening to clap, make noise, and show support for each other and for frontline workers. Eva thought maybe she could sing because she loves singing so much at home. Brian said that she likes to really belt it out at maximum volume— so an outdoor venue could be even better.

For that first show and the shows that followed, dad holds the iPad with the music and lyrics while Eva belts into her microphone, songs such as “Show Yourself” and “Into the Unknown” from Frozen 2 or “How Far I’ll Go” from Moana. “I also tell jokes and riddles,” said the young entertainer.

Eva has given about 10 performances, including some in the early rainy quarantine days—the cold never bothered her.

“Every time she gets better and better,” said Eva’s mom Qian, who has been impressed by her courage to be in the spotlight. There was a time when Eva was very shy, so shy that she couldn’t even go over to her friends’ houses. “She’s a completely different person now,” marveled mom.

“It’s great to see her not be afraid to go in front of a large crowd,” dad said.

All ages have come out to see the show—including one special guest appearance one night from some Sage Canyon classmates and her teacher Kristyn Braund, at a safe distance. Eva said it makes her feel good to hear people tell her that they loved her performance and they keep asking when the next show is going to be.

“All of the neighbors know her now, it’s been a nice way to unite the neighborhood,” said Qian.

While she is staying safe at home Eva said she misses her friends and her teacher—she keeps in touch with her friends on video chats. In addition to all of the singing, she has been riding her scooter and going on short hikes with mom and dad.

When asked what message she would like to send to fellow stay-at-homers, she offered up this: “Do what you’re good at.”

It just might help put a smile on someone’s face.