Emily Cox, COT for Teens, Teen Director
What an exciting semester Solorio is having! The Vocal Academy is in full-swing, and the COT4Teens program is in its final phases of rehearsals!
COT4Teens is always a marvelous time, but this semester is especially fruitful and exciting! This spring has seen a significant increase in the number of participating students. COT4Teens' current roster boasts twenty-seven of the finest singers and dancers at Solorio, as well as a few teens from neighboring schools. The teens are all an active part of our advanced apprenticeship, which teaches them core life skills such as punctuality, responsibility, memorization, public-speaking, time-management, facilitation, and interpersonal-communication skills. Our teens are featured throughout the entirety of the production as both leading roles and ensemble members; several of the teens have voluntarily decided to play multiple roles, which requires even MORE dedication and responsibility! We are also very proud of our student production team program. Now in its second year, this program teaches the teens the importance of technical theater as well as performance. Several of our teens have devoted their semester to exploring the art of stage management, lighting design, sound design, and costume design and management. The semester culminates in an entirely-student-run, full-length production of "Shrek: The Musical". This is the LARGEST and MOST DIFFICULT production COT4Teens has ever produced in terms of ensemble, musical difficulty, content, choreography, run length, and sheer volume of musical numbers. We are VERY proud of our cast and everything that they have accomplished thus far! The production goes up on May 4th and 5th, at 6:00 PM. Tickets are free and open to the public. Come and see some wonderfully-talented teens let their "freak flags" fly in this hilarious and heartwarming production!
The Vocal Academy has also seen an enormous surge of interest this spring. Last year, we had twenty-five total students that received twenty-five minute private voice lessons on a weekly basis; this semester, we have thirty-six teens that receive thirty-minute private voice lessons on a semi-rotating basis. The teens are studying advanced vocal pedagogy. This includes basic singing techniques such as breathing, kinesthesiology, core support, foreign language skills, rhythm, harmony, acoustics and vocal production. The semester will feature a masterclass with Whitney Morrison, a member of the Lyric Opera's Ryan Center, and will culminate on May 30th with a studio recital.
Because of Chicago Opera Theater's support, Solorio is gaining some recognition around Chicagoland area as an up-and-coming arts school. This past week, several of the teens involved in both of our programs were featured in the early-morning segment on the local news channel's "About Town" feature. You can find a link to the video interview segment all about Solorio and its arts programs here: http://wgntv.com/2017/03/31/around-town-visits-eric-solorio-academy/