A day at the opera: BCLUW students get up close and personal with Des Moines troupe

Robert Maharry

BCLUW elementary music instructor Dee Seeman is well aware that when she asks her students about their listening preferences, the chances she’ll hear opera included are slim to none. That doesn’t mean, however, that they can’t learn more about it.
Last Thursday, members of Opera Iowa from the Des Moines area stopped at the elementary school and took part in an afternoon workshop that culminated in a performance of the famous fairytale “Jack and the Beanstalk” with music derived from Gilbert and Sullivan’s operettas. Students in grades preschool through five attended.
“I really like that it gives them an opportunity to see a real opera because they’ve never been to a real opera before, and it gives them an opportunity to hear another kind of music they’ve never heard before,” Seeman said. “They were such good listeners. They loved it. The lights went up, and everything started happening… They were absolutely entranced until it was done.”
NuCara Pharmacy Founder TJ Johnsrud financed the cost of bringing the performers to Conrad, and Seeman sees it as a way to broaden the musical horizons of her young students. Before the show, they learned about costumes, set design, lighting, props and all of the voice classifications from bass to soprano. They even got to hear “Mary Had a Little Lamb” played in jazz and rock n’ roll styles.
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