ST. JOSEPH — The stages may be empty, but the artists are hard at work.

Over the last two weeks, Children’s Music Workshop (CMW) has donated 3D-printed ear savers to the entire staff of Pine Ridge Rehabilitation Center and the Twin City Players (TCP) are making 1,400 face masks for the Area Agency On Aging.

Both CMW and TCP had to cancel spring performances due to the coronavirus pandemic.

CMW’s effort started because the organization has a 3D printer that it typically uses to make 3D models of sets, according to a news release.

Dave Neidlinger, CMW board president and technical director, spearheaded the drive to create and produce ear savers for local essential workers. He designed the strips with the letters “CMW” in the middle and can produce about 25 strips a day using spools of plastic. Each spool can make about 200 strips.

The strips attached to the elastic straps of face masks, taking irritation away from the ears of those who have to wear masks for hours at a time.

TCP’s effort started when its costume department was reached out to by the Berrien Community Foundation (BCF) for help getting masks for the Area Agency on Aging, according to a release.

The BCF and the Frederick S. Upton Foundation offered a grant for supplies.

Julie Smiy, a lead costumer at TCP, agreed to take on the project and put together a team of 14 volunteers.

More than 150 masks have already been completed and volunteers will continue cutting and sewing until all 1,400 are supplied to the Area Agency on Aging.

Anyone interested in helping with TCP’s project can contact Julie Smiy at

CMW is hoping to donate more ear savers to local organizations, too. Anyone who knows of an organization in need, or would like to donate funds to go toward materials, should contact Adrienne Glisson at