Monday, October 21, 2013

Opera for All at Hampton

Justin Callis, Opera for All Teaching Artist

Class at Hampton has been an exciting adventure. I’ve loved getting to work with the fifth graders; they have so much energy and enthusiasm. Every class, we try and hit on our major themes and ideas—singing, acting, listening, reading, and writing. I’ve shared some of my favorite jazz standards with the students, including Louis Armstrong and Ella Fitzgerald singing “Summertime” and Duke Ellington and his Orchestra playing “Take the ‘A’ Train.” We read Langston Hughes’ “I, Too” and learned about the Harlem
Renaissance. And the students learned the Gingerbread Chorus from Hansel and Gretel and sang it in a performance for the school. We’ve had a few weeks now with
them, and they’ve proven such imaginative students. Watching them come up with ideas about how the Chicago Fire happened in an alternate universe with our guest writer Ms. Linzy was so much fun! The students were so inspired by their trip to the Chicago History Museum. While there have been some challenging moments, mostly it has been because of too much enthusiasm for opera; students spend a lot of time jumping over each other to answer a question. Now that the students have some practice writing song lyrics, we will begin crafting a story and writing their opera. I can’t wait!

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