I am writing this on the day the Scouts were supposed to be returning from 10 days in Austria...
Heading into week four of THE GREAT DIVIDE, I thought I might take a moment to reflect upon what nearly a month of virtual arts education, training, and play looks like.
Well...it has been unique: frustrating, innovative, inspiring, hilarious and strange.
While classroom teachers and directors have been scrambling to try to keep their classrooms on task, music and theater educators are faced with a slightly different challenge: How to keep students engaged in art form that is all about the LIVE experience, while understanding that engagement in some form of creative art is what is going to keep us all going emotionally, spiritually, and even physically during this shelter in place necessary directive.
Here at San Francisco Opera Guild we have been working with classroom teachers and teaching artists, creatively finding the best way to deliver our programming and all its benefits in alignment with the technical possibilities available to each school, classroom, and community. This has turned into storyboard original operas, videos of our touring operas, Zoom sessions for composition and dialogue writing, and lots of Google drive sharing.
Opera Scouts and Madrigals have resumed their weekly sessions online, and are learning new repertoire, finishing an original opera, and interacting with special guests. We've added a history course: The Evolution of Broadway and American Musical Theater on Fridays, and have launched our April Music Master Series featuring our special friends and fabulous opera stars Frederica von Stade, Deborah Voigt, Sheri Greenawald and Jake Heggie. Our guests will share their training and career experiences, give advice to our young artists, and answer questions from the students. We are so grateful to these amazing musicians and are delighted to have them meet the Scouts and Madrigals.
The students themselves have been so good-hearted, positive, and buoyant through this process, even in the face of the rescheduling of our Austria Adventure that we had been prepping for over a year. We are now rescheduled for next October, with that much more time to perfect our German!
So as we move into the great unknown, struggling through those Zoom voice lessons, "What? You just dropped out..." and performing great arias and show stoppers in our living rooms to an audience of our favorite stuffed animals, let's keep singing, and keep our eyes on the future when our theaters, concert halls, and rehearsal rooms can reopen to contain all of our collaborative energy and revived passion for the joy we experience through the performing arts.
Stay safe everyone! xo, Caroline