On the road again….it has been a long time since I have been on the road with Portland Opera To Go, either as a performer or a stage manager, and this year, I find myself acting as both! What a wonderful ride it has been though! I am enjoying every minute of being in schools around students and teachers, singing and teaching. And with Opera Improv the shows don’t have a chance of getting stale. Every show, every day is different, and with this group of talented artists, I am having so much fun, I cannot believe I am paid!
Each day brings a fantastic new kid story: Consider this:
On March 8, we played our first show to the entire 5th grade class of Davis Elementary, way out NE. The 5th grade teachers had each pooled their personal funds to get us there for our $100 minimum. There were about 80 kids in attendance. They were a lively, engaged, well-prepared delightful group, who kept us after, peppering us with questions. One asked me about auditions, and I suggested that if they were interested in auditioning for the children's chorus, that they call me for more information or to talk to me about what they would need to do. After that question, I must have given out 20 business cards. This morning I had a message on my phone from a 5th grade boy (very, very nervous!) requesting more information about auditioning for the children's chorus. I called back his teacher, because the boy rushed the number out so fast that I couldn't catch it. Allen Koshewa, the teacher, was very excited to talk to me today, told me wonderful stories of how thrilled the kids were and gave me the scoop on the boy who called. I am hopeful that he will come and audition for us, as Allen says his face just lit up when we started singing.
This is why we do what we do...and incidentally, Allen told me that we had inspired him to become a subscriber again, after a lapse.
A blond haired 10 yr old boy who was at our dress rehearsal, has reported to his mother that he now wants to be an Improv artist. He doesn't think he has the voice to be an Opera Improv Artist but he's pretty sure he could do the normal kind of improv, if his mother would please investigate the kids improv group for him this summer, right after he finishes his blackbelt in taikwondo –
Or how about this:
I managed to make a kindergartner cry—and not in the normal, scary opera singer way! It is rare, but sometimes the simple volume and power of our voices can overwhelm a 5-year-old, but this little boy’s teacher told me that he burst into tears because my aria was “just so sad.” He was upset because my character was so sad…he perked up later and returned to the assembly, after curling up in his teacher’s lap. Incidently…I was singing “O mio Fernando” from La Favorita. And…it is pretty sad.
Opera is like that. It can open the doors to rooms in our hearts we didn’t know were there—and in little people the routes are more direct, and most of the doors are unlocked. This is why we do what we do, and this is why I am so proud of this crop of Portland Opera To Go artists. Thank you, Ainsley, Dan, Stacey and Michael. You have shown me a remarkably good time, and I am grateful to each and every one of you for the amazing work that you do every single day.
From somewhere on the road in Portland, Oregon,
Manager of Education and Outreach