The Montgomery County Public Schools (MCPS) is participating in a new dual partnership with the Metropolitan Opera Guild and the Washington Opera - one that will open opportunities for teachers and students from pre-kindergarten through eighth grade.
The partnership builds on a program titled Creating Original Opera (COO), originally implemented in 1995 at Farmland Elementary School under the guidance of music teacher Deborah Scesa, who expanded the program to Beverly Farms Elementary School in 1998.
The partnership, a component of the MCPS fine arts strategic five-year plan, is made possible through funding from the Maryland State Department of Education's Fine Arts Initiative Grant (year two). Plans are being made to expand the COO program into five to seven additional schools per year with funds from the grant.
During the first semester of this school year, Scesa participated with the Metropolitan Opera Guild in New York City to develop programs and curriculum integrating language and drama skills and teaching opera masterpieces and music theater literature in a multidisciplinary method, while also employing original composition of musical theater.
The partnership will provide participating schools access to professional artist mentors, in-school performances, professional development opportunities for teachers, in-service or graduate credit for workshops and docents to help schools meet program goals.
Some activities already have been provided through the partnership, and others will be provided through the collaboration. They include:
-MCPS Choral Teachers Night (held January 27, including a reception and performance of Verdi's Requiem).
-Opera "look-in" and student matinee performances for school groups.
-Summer workshops for pre-K-8 teachers on Creating Original Opera and Music! Words! Opera!
-Opera residency program and summer workshops for high school teachers cosponsored by the Metropolitan Opera Guild.