Coping with COVID through song – Elena Bowlus Cruz on Jessop’s Journal

Jessop's Journal

Jessop’s Journal Entry

By Douglas Jessop, ABC4 News

Everyone has a story. Stories have power. They help us understand each other. In this episode of Jessop’s Journal, the story started with a picture of a woman in a mask for COVID-19. Here’s the link: Capturing COVID SLC

Elena Bowlus Cruz was wearing a mask made of a serape in the picture. Her post said, “When the Pandemic broke out, the special education school I was working for in Massachusetts shut down. Since I was living in Staff Housing, that meant where I was living would be on lock-down as well. I chose to fly to Utah to be with my family and help with my young nephews. Two days later, there was an earthquake here.”

Admittedly, that was a crazy time here in Utah.

What really caught my attention was this part of her post; “My heart especially breaks for my students who are visually impaired and navigate their world largely by touch. Zoom classes are not easy for any child, but it’s especially difficult to try to explain and help without being able to guide them with my hands. I’ve been much more worried about them than myself. Fortunately, though, we have been able to connect in other ways. It has forced us to think outside of the box and discover new ways we can educate and support them.”

I’ve been interviewing people since I was 12 years old (you can check out my bio at Douglas Jessop). One of the things that I’ve learned over time is that people are like onions, they have multiple layers. What was interesting to note is that one of Elena’s layers is the fact that she can sing. I mean SING.  We’re talking about Italian Opera.

Come to find out she is the singing voice behind the Madam Pattirini commercial.  She sang for me in this episode of “Jessop’s Journal” and I even got to join her for a quick version of one of my favorite gospel songs, “Swing Low.” Shameless plug alert – I liked her voice so much that I had my awesome videographer/collaborator, Ed Wilets, tape her doing more songs for an upcoming “Jessop’s Jukebox” music special.

I strongly feel that “stories have power”. Chances are that if you are going through something, that someone else probably has as well. The shared experiences we humans have can help each other. That my friend makes the point that stories “help us understand each other.”

You don’t have to agree with everyone, but in my opinion, if people would take more time getting to knowing more about others and where they are coming from, we just might find out that we have more similarities than differences.

I invite you to watch each episode of Jessop’s Journal at and share these stories with your friends and neighbors.  Your feedback is always welcome.

Here are this week’s Internet Treasure Hunt questions:

*What is the name of the famous ________School for the Blind that Elena works at?

*How old was Elena when she took her first singing lesson?

* How does Elana want to #leaveyourmark?

Jessop’s Journal is something special when it comes to broadcast news. I have the honor of being able to do longer in-depth interviews that you don’t normally see with people from all walks of life.

Other episodes of Jessop’s Journal can be seen at and are made possible by the generous support of Rustico, Tailor Cooperative, JW Custom Hats, Ogden’s Own Distillery, and LiquiDirt Organics.

You can also see my positive business profiles called “Utah Success Stories” every Sunday in the ABC4 News at 10 p.m. or online at

As a sidebar, I’m also a #gardentvguy that designed and planted the ABC4 Backyard. As a self-confessed #gardengeek you can see my #dougsdailyplantpics as well as sneak peeks on stories I’m working on by following me on as well as social media at, and

Doug Jessop
For Doug Jessop, it all started with a cassette recorder he got for Christmas when he was 12 years old growing up in Southern California. Doug interviewed relatives, friends and anyone else that might have a good story. You can follow Doug at, on, and @DougJessopNews on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.

With another entry into Jessop ‘s Journal, I’m Doug Jessop, ABC4 News. 

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