Lisa Golda, COT Teaching Artist at Clinton & Hampton Elementary Schools
As always, this part of the year becomes very exciting as we plunge towards the finished product--our fully staged opera, with props co-created with our wonderful visiting teaching artist Sonja Henderson! Sonja often works first on drawings with the children to get them thinking about ideas for sets, costume pieces, and masks, for instance, which she can then incorporate into her work with them, or that the children can use as designs for their work! We worked on a canvas backdrop of the galaxy (stars, planets, comets), space suits based on packing tape molds, and yoga ball planets with the class who wrote a song about space discovery; mask designs for spooky space animals with the children whose song describes museum animals that come to life (who were, incidentally, brought back from outer space in a frozen state, only to thaw upon reaching earth! Of course! What could be more logical?) The other class sketched designs for a chocolate wall and wristbands for their roles as defenders of the chocolate-walled mirror kingdom! They love art class and their creations add so much to the final opera.
At Clinton, my teaching partner Kim, who is sadly soon to leave us, showed me the blocking she had created for the scenes between the kids' songs. I realized--we are in GREAT shape! We reviewed the choreography we had created for their songs. . .much of this was at first very rusty, but started coming back. . .which means that the entire opera is roughly staged. We now must just run transitions between scenes and classes. This is the first time that we are attempting to combine classes in some scenes, instead of confining scenes to one class at a time. . .we'll see if it works!