Tuesday, January 3, 2017

Whistler and Langford put the "Care and Share" in their Winter Showcase Performances.

Diana Stoic, Opera for All Teaching Artist

The reviews are in, and our Opera for All south side schools soared to great heights during their Winter Showcase on Wednesday December 14th!

The winter showcase was the culmination of the students’ work throughout the school year thus far.

The showcase started off strong with all students singing the theme song, “One World.”  

Whistler Elementary rehearsal of “One World” before the Winter Showcase.


A clip of Langford Community Academy’s performance of “One World.”


A few students shared specific Opera for All experiences:

Brooklynn, a 4th grade student from Whistler shared her experience about singing along to the Windy City performance.   She poignantly expressed her advice, “Keep calm and sing on because we all shine through in our own special way.”   

Listen to Brooklynn’s entire speech below:


The performance also included sneak peaks of each class’s opera synopsis and class songs, which they worked on with the guest composer.  The students ended their show with an all school sing- along to Jingle Bells.

The day after the performance, Whistler student, Kaytlin, reflected on how her class used cooperation to make their performance successful.


I can’t believe how quickly this school year is progressing.  I would like to recognize and thank the amazing teachers and principals that I‘ve had the opportunity to work with.  They have enthusiastically welcomed the Opera for All program into their schools.   We are also very grateful to have had our guest composers accompany the showcase.  The student’s loved getting the chance to see and work with them again. 

I wish everyone a happy holiday season and look forward to getting back to work in January.

Langford Community Academy’s practice warm-up of Jingle Bells:


Thursday, December 22, 2016


Caryn Ott-Hillman, Teen Director, COT for Teens

  This is the first song of the show LEGALLY BLONDE and I think it sums up this semester for Chicago Opera Theater @ Senn.  There were so many great things that occurred that helped this program continue to grow since starting this past summer.

   First off, I have never had so many students audition for this ASM's Chicago Opera Theater for Teens before.  Being that Senn is a Performing Arts School without a Musical Theater program, there are a plethora of students just chumping at the bit to get a chance to do musical.   With that, Dan Riley and I gathered the cream of the crop of students to put together the show LEGALLY BLONDE.  This show is a surprise favorite among young people now a days.  It is an empowering, self-discovery story decorated with a lot of pink fluff and sparkles.  

   The music is surprisingly challenging because of its contemporary sound and rhythm...but that did not stop Mr. Riley from pushing these teens.  Our cast totally stepped up to the plate and buckled down - I was so proud of them.

     For the dancing, I had a blast choreographing some hip hop moves to live up to all the high-energy music of the show.  The teens loved it the most when I asked them to slide on the floor in the song “So Much Better.” 

   This semester, we also collaborated with 2 other ASM programs.  The Sceneographers helped create our set back drops and Sullivan’s Improv performed with us when we went to their school to put on our show.  It is really a big eye-opening for our teens to see how other ASM classes function.  Plus, they can all appreciate other teens’ efforts in other areas.  I was so thankful to have our ASM program specialist – Sterling Goodrich – connect us with these other programs!

   It was such a fun show and the best, as always, is how they all come together in the last week or so because their focus is real.  They bond over the scary excitement of performing!  We are so lucky that we end each semester with the teens coming together as a unit - being proud of all their hard work!