Dr. Jennifer D'Agostino - COT for Teens, Director at Solorio Academy High School
I have been lucky to have the opportunity to watch the students in Chicago Opera Theater for Teens at Solorio Academy experience new things. Recently, we attended Chicago Opera Theater's Thursday evening dress rehearsal of Duke Ellington's "Queenie Pie."
For many students, it was their first opera. For some, it was their first time downtown. The excitement was evident from the first seconds of our time together. We ordered some pizzas, and took a bus to the event. We had our COT for Teens from 3:30-10pm! As soon as the students came to our program they were buzzing with questions about the day. They all wanted to change from their regular school uniforms into their purple After School Matters t-shirts. It was really fun to see some of them make their t-shirt outfit fancy by curling or straightening their hair, wearing nice pants or skirts, and adding other items of personal style. Our games, song rehearsals, and acting exercises for the day were over-the-top, as all students participated and were having fun, leaving their inhibitions at the door. Mr. Roemer and I had a lot of fun too, because we remembered what it was like to have a new experience, and since we had already seen the first act of "Queenie Pie," we knew they would like it.
We had already discussed and acted out the plot, so the students knew a little of what to expect. We showed them a couple videos that COT was using to advertise the event and we went over concert etiquette. One boy asked me "If I introduce myself to someone, do I shake their hand?" This event was great for them because they had the opportunity to take ownership of their roles as ambassadors of Solorio, Chicago Opera Theater for Teens, and After School Matters. I was so pleased to see them introducing themselves, shaking hands with new people, laughing at funny parts, and reacting to some of the uncomfortable moments.
Unfortunately, we didn't get to stay to the end of the performance, but we did sneak out in enough time to take a couple fancy pictures on the steps of the Harris Theater. Since Mr. Roemer had to take off for a rehearsal for another gig, we were accompanied by our ASM liaison/Solorio teacher: Laura Vaca, Solorio's choir teacher: Andrew Sons, and Solorio's band teacher: Madeleine Mollinedo. I can't wait for our next field trip to Autumn Green Retirement Center on Monday, March 31st, where the kids will put on their own performance!