Atlanta Opera reaches over 900 Albany students

Photo by Casey Dixon

Photo by Casey Dixon

ALBANY -- Elementary school students giggled and clapped at the humorous antics of the wolf, played by Wade Thomas.

They also sat quietly at other points during the presentation of the Atlanta Opera Educational Outreach Tour Wednesday morning at Albany High School's auditorium.

Co-sponsored by Albany Links Inc. and the Dougherty County Schools Music Department, the event attracted 981 students from Dougherty County public and private elementary schools and North Mitchell Elementary for the first morning performance. The second performance attracted 731 students and today's presentation at Lee County's Twin Oaks Elementary at 9 a.m. is expected to draw about 450 students.

Lincoln Elementary Magnet School second-graders Donnelle Smith, Ka'Myah St. Rose, Kamrion Brown, William Riggins and Madison James were able to participate in the first Wednesday performance.

"It was fun because I got to be in the show," Ka'Myah said. "I got to be a duck and get on stage and bow. It was fun because we got to wear the hats. My favorite part was when we got to walk down the hall quacking."

Classmate Naudia Benton liked how the opera folktale theme showed her the importance being friendly to others and avoiding fights.

Wade Thomas, Rebecca Kier, Kaitlyn Costello and Wesley Morgan were the opera performers who made the trip to Albany Wednesday, along with their pianist, Valerie Paul.

"I think it's fun to have kids with zero exposure to opera to see us and to have fun and see that opera can be fun and silly," Morgan said. "It's neat to hear kids that have never heard operatic sounds say, 'How do you sing so beautifully?'"

Costello said the tour will visit 39 different schools this year, with most of those in the metro Atlanta area. It was the second straight year she had performed in Albany.

"It's definitely great to be back yearly and hopefully they'll gain an appreciation for art and opera," she said.