Andrew Sons, Choral Director, Eric Solorio Academy High SchoolEric Solorio Academy High School has had the immense privilege of being partnered with Chicago Opera Theater since 2013. When I first made contact with educational outreach director, Linden Christ, I never imagined how successful our programs would become. Through after school musicals, in class performances, masterclasses, and private voice lessons, COT has made an immense impact on over 300 students in Solorio’s music department over 4 years.
Solorio Academy High School is a neighborhood high school on Chicago’s southwest side. We serve approximately 1,200 Latino and African-American students who come mostly from within our attendance boundary. Solorio is not a selective enrollment or charter school. Everything we have accomplished is because of our dedicated instructors, including COT or Teen’s current teachers: Emma Cox and Chungers Kim.Beginning in 2013, we brought Chicago Opera Theater for Teen’s to Solorio to start a musical theater program. While working to develop our choirs, I did not have the time or budget to also put on an after school musical. COT was able to do this for me and our students have now performed in eight productions including Oklahoma, South Pacific, Once on this Island, Little Shop of Horrors, and Beauty and the Beast. This May, they will perform their most ambitious work yet, Shrek: The Musical. We now have seniors who will be performing in the final show of their high school career. These kids have spent three or four years developing their talent and will be sorely missed when they graduate in June. Many plan on continuing to sing and act at the collegiate level thanks to Chicago Opera Theater!