Tulsa Opera Announces Music Training Program for Tulsa Public Schools
Tulsa Opera announces an exciting and visionary new program, titled Raise Your Voice!, to support and benefit Tulsa Public Schools. This program comes at a time when Tulsa Public Schools (TPS) are experiencing some of the worst budget woes in their history, and when TPS is in dire need of public and community support.
Says Greg Weber, General Director and CEO of Tulsa Opera, "The arts are more than a 'nice-to-have'. The arts - music - represent a universal language all of us speak. As an arts leader, Tulsa Opera is making its support of our schools and our children a priority. We are honored to be collaborating with TPS to put vocal music training back in these schools."
To make sure all children experience the joy of music, Tulsa Opera will bring the Raise Your Voice! vocal music after-school program to students in six economically disadvantaged middle/junior high schools for the 2017-2018 school year. The Tulsa Public Schools Board approved the program June 19, 2017.
More than 2,800 TPS students − or 63 percent of the district's 4,439 middle/junior high school students - no longer have access to vocal music classes at school. The Raise Your Voice! program, with lead funding by a $39,000 Opera America Innovation Grant, plans to change that by offering vocal music training to 35 to 50 students at each of the following schools:
Webster Middle School
Thoreau Demonstration Academy
Monroe Demonstration School
Hale Junior High
East Central Junior High
Memorial Junior High
Tulsa Opera's Innovation Grant is one of only 27 awarded to North American opera companies in June with $1.4 million from the Ann and Gordon Getty Foundation. Opera America soliciTed Grants on behalf of the Getty Foundation, and focused on awarding funds to opera companies with a diverse range of goals, including internal structure and staffing, educational and community outreach and the production of new work. The grantees will share the results of their programs with each other to better position themselves for 21st-century audiences.
"No restrictions will be placed on enrollment, and the primary objective of Raise Your Voice! is immediate: To get kids singing," says Aaron Beck, Music & Education Administrator at Tulsa Opera.<
Not only does this after-school program provide access to quality music education, it also will foster a love for singing in these children. They'll meet each week throughout the school year to learn basic vocal techniques and choral singing, and perform several times throughout the year at community and school events.
While Tulsa Public Schools offers music programs at most of its elementary schools, says TPS Director of Fine Arts Ann Tomlins, only some of the district's 13 middle schools offer vocal music training.
"There are six middle schools that do not have vocal music teachers. This puts them at a disadvantage when compared with other middle schools at Tulsa Public Schools and the surrounding communities," Tomlins says. "This wonderful program, Raise Your Voice!, will allow children at these sites to continue their music instruction so they will enter high school with a skill set similar to their peers across the region."
Students will be admitted into the classes on a first-come, first-served basis, and no audition is necessary. In addition to regular vocal music sessions with local teachers, students will have the opportunity to work with professional opera singers from around the world. They'll also receive free tickets to Tulsa Opera performances, giving them and their families access to high-quality, professional arts experiences.
Tulsa Opera is excited to offer this simple, but innovative project to spark creativity in our community's youth and foster a lifelong love for music. Supporting its community is Tulsa Opera's highest priority. Help support this program by donating to Tulsa Opera today at www.tulsaopera.com or by calling 918-582-4035.
The 2017-2018 season includes Faust, with performances in the Tulsa Performing Arts Center Friday, Oct. 20 at 7:30 p.m. and Sunday, Oct. 22 at 2:30 p.m.; The Stars Align, a 70th Anniversary Gala performance starring Susan Graham and Sarah Coburn on February 17, 2018 at 8:00 p.m.; and Turandot, with performances Friday April 27, 2018 at 7:30 p.m. and Sunday April 29, 2018 at 2:30 p.m. All performances will be in the Tulsa Performing Arts Center.
Season tickets are now available. Season tickets range from $50 to $195 and include Faust and Turandot. For additional information, visit www.tulsaopera.com or call 918.587.4811.