Giving Voice to Children

GR Opera Oversees Student Production

OK, it wasn’t just work, it also was fun, as can be seen in the faces of music teacher Deb Perry and student Langston Ezell
Bailey Gatlin lets herself feel the music as she pounds away on a drum

Most elementary students have never attended an opera. Coit Creative Arts Academy fourth- and fifth-grade students have created, produced and performed one.

The project, done in partnership with Opera Grand Rapids Children’s Opera, was led by the Creative Connections arts education organization. Twelve students from Coit, a Grand Rapids Public School, went through intensive workshops the week before the Nov. 17 show. They had a lot of fun, but the opera the students wrote, “Feelings Gallery,” dealt with serious emotions like being confused, hurt and depressed. It also found positive hope in people and brought out the students’ talents.

“It’s fun to create,” said vocalist Brooklynne Larocque. “It’s fun to hang out with other people and create things.”

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Linda Odette
Linda Odette is a freelance writer and editor with more than 30 years of experience in journalism. She’s worked primarily as an editor in feature departments at newspapers in West Michigan, including the Grand Rapids Press, the Muskegon Chronicle and the Holland Sentinel. She lives in East Grand Rapids near the Eastown edge, has a teenage son and a daughter in college. Read Linda's full bio

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