Everyone is caught off guard by mixed emotions the day after the opera. Realizing that the culminating event for which we have been preparing all year has now passed is depressing and disappointing. The process of striking the set and taking everything down that we have spent months creating illicits a host of feelings that opens the flood gates. Tears flow and sadness permeates the room. What do I do now? What is my purpose? Who am I? The conversation that follows is perhaps the most poignant of all. In this new space where we find ourselves, the students acknowledge their profound accomplishments and make decisions about how to move forward. But this, only after expressing where they are in the moment.
As we prepare these last days before our original opera production of Strike ‘n Spare, we are thinking carefully about what we want to convey to the public. What do we REALLY want our audience to know and think about after the opera? What message must we deliver and what do we want people to know about us as a company and as individuals?
Our hallway exhibition will showcase the process of the opera throughout the year so that everyone will understand our purpose and mission along the way. It shows the academic accomplishments and the life lessons acquired on the journey.
When asked what they have learned in this process, company members generated a collective list and then wrote about their own personal, powerful lessons. What each student shares and is carrying with him into life beyond third grade should make us think profoundly about what is important in educating our children.
When we packed our suitcases for this year long journey back in August, we knew there would be many decisions to make along the way. The trials, tribulations and triumphs we have experienced collectively and as individuals on this expedition have made us think deeply about who we are and where we are headed. Each has his own personal road to navigate. Where will my road lead? What choices will I make? What setbacks and failures must I endure? When will I yield, take a detour or encounter road closures and construction? Inspired by The Road Not Taken by Robert Frost and the children’s book, If You Plant a Seed, by Kadir Nelson, we took time to stop, visualize and describe the road we see in front of us.
When you drop a stone in the pond, concentric circles spread out and expand their reach beyond a point where the eye can see. They seem to dissipate as the water calms and the stone sinks. But where do the ripples really go?
Like the stone, we cast ourselves into a pool with every action we take and with every thought or feeling we share, never knowing the effect we may have on others. Our ripples travel to unknown destinations and often bring about unexpected returns.
Last Monday, Mr. Fernando, a building service worker in our school, shared that the students’ words he read on a bulletin board outside our classroom inspired him to do his job and to do it well.
Harness the Stars Kids Opera Company . . . your ripples are making a difference.
Harness the Stars Kids Opera Company understands well that making mistakes and pushing through setbacks are part of the learning process. However, knowing this doesn’t make it easier when we are inside a situation that presents us with disappointment, doubt and hard feelings. After a particularly difficult afternoon when company members were struggling with internal conflicts and a host of negative bahaviors, we sat in our metaphorical circle to reflect, air grievances and offer solutions to move forward. We then excused ourselves to write and express our personal thoughts and feelings in an attempt to get beyond the wall in front of us. With only twenty-five working days until the opera premiere, we will allow nothing to stand in our way.
Harness the Stars Kids Opera Company
March 1, 2015
Natania Bennett, Leslie Lopez, Kathryn Riley
Public Relations Officers
We are Harness the Stars Kids Opera Company from Stedwick Elementary School. We are twenty-five third graders from Ms. McGinn’s class. We have formed our own opera company, and our goal is to create and perform an original opera. The thirty-minute production will be performed on May 6 at 2:00 P.M. and on May 7 at 2:00 P.M and 7:00 P.M. in the school’s all-purpose room. [Read more…] about Harness the Stars Kids Opera Company News Release