Jennifer D'Agostino, Opera for All Teaching Artist
What a great year in the CPS schools with OFA. Our students were very enthusiastic about all aspects of building and presenting an opera. It is so overwhelming, and sometimes emotional, when you walk in to a school and are greeted with an abundance of energy, hugs, and questions about today’s class in Opera. I am constantly surprised by my students’ reactions on participating in an art form that they initially think is so foreign. As we continue our plans, they start to realize how accessible it is to write, read, and act. There is always a time when what they do on stage becomes second nature, and it’s really exciting to see the evolution throughout the 20 or 35 weeks. I have been especially impressed with the 1st graders at Armstrong. Not only are they adorable, but, their enthusiasm was by far, the best I have ever seen working for Opera For All. Students who barely spoke at the beginning of the year were shouting the Dinosaur song at the top of their lungs at their performance. They all had that glimmer of mischief when they acted out their plots and sang the silly and fun songs they created with composer, Adam Busch. It’s great to work with a grade where the students aren’t yet feeling self-conscious because they will really do about anything. I will definitely miss those little tikes, and judging by the answers on their post test, I know that they will always have a special place for Opera.