Thursday, June 19, 2014

Opera for All at Chase Elementary School

Jennifer D'Agostino, COT Teaching Artist  
 We have been having so much fun this semester during our second year of "Opera For All" at Chase Elementary! My team and I are working with the 5th and 6th grade classes of Ms. Quick, Ms. Martinez, and Mr. Borges. We are very excited to premier our performance of "OPERA ON FIRE" Tuesday, May 27th @ 2pm.
Since I usually lead the classes, it's often hard for me to step back and document all of the fun learning moments. Some really great guest visits gave me a chance to use my iPhone and take videos and pictures!
Combat Workshop, led by COT Marketing Manager Whitney Hershberger and her combat partner Mark Penzien, was a session that got our students REALLY excited! It was great to see the kids listening carefully, following directions, and executing real stage combat moves! My favorite part was when one student, Diego, had to pair up with his teacher Mr. Borges! After a well delivered fake punch to his teacher's gut, Diego exclaimed: "This is the best day of my life!" Enjoy a video and some pictures of the day's final product!

Every year, we are impressed with the skills of artist Sonja Henderson. This year was no exception! We are so excited to show off our well-painted Chicago Skyline backdrop, our detailed costumes, and especially our Takis!
Dance day is always received with enthusiasm! This year, choreographer Caryn Ott taught each class a unique dance that utilizes a jazz song. Thank goodness kids are awesome dancers... we only had TWO DAYS to put it all together!
A lot of people may wonder: "How do we compose these fantastic songs with our students?" It's a process that we have really grown to love! After the students write the lyrics our composer comes in to help them develop a melody. Our composer this semester was Justin Callis. You can read more about the experience from his perspective on his OFA blog post.
The Chase kids are so great. They are ready for their performance and we still have 3 weeks left! I have been overwhelmed by the positive support from the teachers, staff, and students, who all get to benefit from having "Opera For All."

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