Monday, August 20, 2012

The calm before the storm

Singeli Zaparaniuk, Summer Education Intern for Chicago Opera Theater

Spending your summer at Chicago Opera Theater during the off-season can be equally as thrilling as spending it while multiple productions are in rehearsal/performance- productions get pushed back, new Teaching Artists are hired, and Opera For All expands. This summer has been full of exciting changes both for Chicago Opera Theater and for the Education department. Brian Dickie’s office is now our new General Directors, Andreas Mitisek, who balances his time between Chicago Opera Theater and Long Beach Opera; school days have been extended and with that comes a new set of standards-the Common Core; and we’ve expanded our Opera For All program! Starting in a few weeks, we will be in 5 elementary schools and 2 after-school programs. But of course the excitement doesn’t last long as expanding and changing means more work and adaptability for all. Everyone on the education team has been busy working or re-vamping lesson-plans to make sure each lesson is in accordance to the Common Core as well as putting everything together for the 2012-2013 school year. We’ve even created a new education brochure to promote the Opera For All program.

Students at Reilly Elementary, Clinton Elementary, Hampton Elementary, Chase Elementary, Cameron Elementary, St. Vincent dePaul Center and Marillac Center will be creating their very own opera this spring (luckily this year we get 50 minutes of classroom time as opposed to the 45 minutes we had last year). In order to prepare students, we will be spending the fall semester teaching them the various aspects of opera (from writing lyrics to basic music theory). The students receive their very own opera journal in which they can keep track of their progress and reflect about the day’s lesson-whether it’s learning the proper etiquette of fanning, the elements of a plot, or basic rhythm structures they will have the necessary tools to put on a great production in the Spring.

It’s been fun working on the lesson plans and figuring out creative ways to implement the Common Core standards as well as keeping children engaged. I think opera class is going to be everyone’s favorite class this year!