|Madison Opera's teaching artist Saira Frank with after-school vocal students at the Overture Center as part of the Arts Education Initiative.|
Saira Frank worked with 6th grade classes at Cherokee Middle School, introducing them to opera and in particular to Verdi's La Traviata. After participating in a variety of activities based on the aesthetic education model centered on La Traviata, the students saw the piece performed live in Overture Hall at Madison Opera's recent Student Matinee. Not only did the classes Saira worked with attend, but the entire 6th grade of Cherokee Middle School was there!
Following the in-school residency and performance components of the Initiative came the after-school program. At the after-school program, students from Sherman and Cherokee Middle Schools broke into different specialties to create their own artistic works inspired by the Shinique Smith exhibit at MMoCA.Over ten sessions, the vocal students worked with Saira to filter their ideas and feelings about Shinique Smith's artwork into songs, or "arias," that they then performed last Thursday. Working in pairs, the students wrote their own lyrics and set them to existing arias that fit the mood and atmosphere of the Shinique Smith work they were inspired by. The results were pretty incredible, and we are beyond thrilled that the Overture Center for the Arts has already received a new $37,000 grant from the NEA to continue the Arts Education Initiative next year.