Kittridge Street Elementary (Van Nuys, CA)
What programs have you been involved in with LA Opera Connects?
I have been fortunate to participate in the Elementary In-School Opera program, in which my students–along with professionals–put on marvelous productions over the last three years! In addition, my students have had the opportunity to participate in the Voices for Tolerance program twice. Lastly, my students have had the privilege of attending Open Door Days and Opera Prep, where they have gotten to experience dress rehearsals for mainstage productions.
What is your favorite memory from this year?
My favorite memory from the Opera Prep program was seeing my students all dressed up and completely mesmerized by the singing and set design of LA Opera’s mainstage production of Hansel and Gretel.
My favorite memory from the Elementary In-School Opera program is hard to narrow down. It is a tie between receiving student feedback on how they are no longer afraid of performing in front of an audience, and having parents thank me for exposing their children to culture.
My favorite memory from the Voices for Tolerance program was when the opera teacher let the students make up verses for “Happiness” from You’re a Good Man, Charlie Brown, and how the kids were really excited about it and expressed their creativity.
What are you most proud of accomplishing this year?
I am proud that I took a class that struggled academically and raised their level of focus and knowledge. Also, I am delighted that I was able to expose them to many different art forms, because a lot of my students had never even heard of opera before we started.
What are you most proud of your students accomplishing this year?
This year, I think I am most proud of my students for being able to memorize the lyrics and hand motions for Figaro’s American Adventure. I am proud that they rehearsed many, many times and that they performed very well because of it. I am also pleased that my students are currently learning new songs for the Voices for Tolerance program through weekly Zoom sessions!
Students with baritone LeRoy Villanueva in Figaro's American Adventure.
The Kittridge Elementary School Opera Chorus with the cast of Figaro's American Adventure (l-r LeRoy Villanueva, Joseph Lopez, Maria Lopez, Cole Cuomo).
Students rehearsing Figaro's American Adventure with Resident Stage Director Eli Villanueva and teaching artist Judy Johnson.