Catheryne Shuman, Young Artist at Chicago Opera Theater
I was a bit nervous when I first found out Andrew and I were going to be singing at Lionel Hampton Elementary School. I felt like I was unprepared to talk to a whole group of kids about opera, and I had about a million questions. What should I sing that would be fun for the kids and wouldn’t bore them to death? What kinds of questions are they going to ask? Or worse, what if they’re completely disinterested and have no questions? ACK! The list went on and on.
However, when we got to the school, the students were immediately engaged. They had so many questions for us that the 45 minutes we had didn’t seem like enough time. I thought it was particularly funny that they kept trying to figure out how old we all are, and I found the kids’ energy and intelligent questions refreshing. One of my favorite moments was when they had Andrew hold a note for as long as he could (37 seconds!). I also thought it was really funny when they had me sing as high as I could. It was really encouraging to see so many young, interested faces, and I hope they took something from our performances. All I can say is, the next time I have to do outreach to an elementary school, I won’t be nearly as nervous.