Kids wonder about things. They get really jazzed when they help create something cool, such as a live opera production. Our recent kickoff of the Any Given Child Tour! created quite a stir with second-graders as Tulsa Opera artist Steven Osborn projected his rich, baritone voice to command their attention and take them on a journey of Music! Magic! Opera!
Each year, Tulsa Opera brings the Any Given Child Tour! to every second-grader in Tulsa and surrounding areas as part of the Kennedy Center’s Any Given Child initiative. This year, Tulsa Opera changed the focus of the tour to allow the children to gain hands-on experience with creating a staged opera.
“The kids sing with us and dance with us on stage. We have children who are costume designers, and others who help with props. This tour provides a really fun crash course in all of the details of staging an opera,” says Aaron Beck, the opera company’s Music & Education Administrator who shares AGCT pianist duties with Tulsa Opera Young Artist Dr. Ohsung Bryan Kwon.
Tulsa Opera brings this free, interactive opera experience directly to thousands of elementary students each season. It’s become a local favorite among teachers, who receive program-related lesson plans to explore subjects as diverse as math, science and history with the kids.
Says Catherine Crawford, music education instructor at Westside Elementary in Claremore: “The student participation was wonderful as well. It was a huge success as far as developing an interest in opera at our school.”
For the seventh consecutive year, Tulsa Opera presented the AGCT to every second-grader in Tulsa Public Schools in February, then continued the tour to Coweta, Claremore, Broken Arrow, Jenks, Owasso, and other areas of northeast Oklahoma.
The opera company strongly believes in nurturing the curiosity and creativity of children, and with exposure to AGCT these young people may become interested in singing and then enroll for Raise Your Voice, Tulsa Youth Opera, or one day audition for the Young Artists program.
“Through a more local and regional focus, we can tie all of our education programs together and really reach kids on a more permanent basis to have a strong impact in their lives,” Beck says.