Thursday, December 15, 2011

Opera in a Trunk

Meghan Benedetto recently joined the Opera Colorado team as our Manager of Education & Community Programs and has jumped in with both feet! She details her experiences with our Opera in a Trunk program, which uses props, costumes, and activities to introduce students to the performing arts.

The Opera in a Trunk program is often an overlooked education program, but it can be an essential tool in helping students understand this often complicated art form. Last month, the Hansel & Gretel Opera in a Trunk traveled to Ms. Hurd’s art class at University Park Elementary. We introduced the students to the opera by teaching them some of the arias in English, the different operatic voice types, as well as the word Bravo! Opera Colorado went back to the school the following week to perform Hansel & Gretel for over 400 students. Let me tell you that their responses were astounding! But, you could really see the difference between Ms. Hurd’s art students who had done the Trunk program and those that did not. They were singing along with the artists, and shouting “BRAVO! BRAVO!” during the final bows. You could see that they were following the opera along closely, laughing….and screaming at all the right times. As we were packing up the show behind the school, the 1st graders were having recess in the adjacent field. I saw two girls singing and doing Gretel’s dance. “Left foot first, right foot then, round about and back again!” It was adorable!

Generation OC

If you were to enter an 8th grade language arts classroom, what do you think you would see? Students reading – check. Students writing – check. Students learning about opera – (cue record scratch sound) What? Those don't go together you may say. Oh, yes they do, I say. It's all part of our program, Generation OC. We're working to teach students 21st century workforce readiness skills through the arts. That's a mouthful, so let me boil it down. Basically, we're teaching students to use critical thinking, work as part of a team, create something unique and original – skills those of us in the workforce have to use every day and skills that occur naturally in the arts. The students we're working with right now at Rocky Heights Middle School are learning about creative and persuasive writing by creating marketing materials for The Marriage of Figaro. They have to figure out how to "sell" this opera to their peers. Being creative; being persuasive. The connections are all there. We're giving them the outlet; just wait until you see the results!

Friday, December 2, 2011

300 Donors in 24 hours!

If you live in Colorado and are connected with any non-profit, you have probably already heard of Colorado Gives Day which is December 6th. Last year non-profits throughout Colorado raised almost $8 million on Colorado Gives Day. That's right, in 24 hours.

We at Opera Colorado are ecstatic about Colorado Gives Day. Our goal is to get 300 donors in 24 hours, and to raise $200,000! One might think, well that's impossible! We say to that: Not with your help!

We'll be at The Ellie Caulkins Opera House the morning of December 6th from 7am - 10am passing out free coffee and taking online donations. Then we'll move to Brio Tuscan Grille in Cherry Creek which is donating 15% of sales for the day to Opera Colorado. We'll also be taking donations throughout the day there. Your support for lunch and/or dinner would make the day even more successful! Meanwhile, board members will be making phone calls to donors from Opera Colorado headquarters in an effort to get even closer to 300.

Whew! It's going to be an amazing day!

The minimum donation is only $10.00! The more donors we get, the better chance we have of making our 2011 fundraising goals as well as getting press throughout 2012. We can hit 300 if all those who support live opera and the performing arts make even the minimum donation. Will you join us?

By the way, donations can be made now and count towards our goal for December 6th.

Thank you!