What Is Opera-Go-Round?

By Henry C. Mayer

Ask Amy Brooks Hoffmann, Kentucky Opera's Education Coordinator, that question and she will say that it's a touring one-act children's opera.

Ask 20,000 Kentucky School children. Their eyes will give you an unforgettable answer.

It's a time-proven vehicle for Kentucky Opera to introduce children in grades K-5 to an exciting new world - the magic world of opera.

This year's production was on tour September 7 through October 30. Its title was "Sid the Serpent Who wanted To Sing!"

Ed Phey had the title role. He sang; he danced; he acted. He shared his aspiration with The Strong Man (Dan Keeling); The Clown (Tina Millhorn); The Juggler (Dawn Coon) They were both hot and cold to Sid's musical aspirations, but he stuck to them and, when he found himself, they rejoiced with him.

Shelley Shumate's talents on the piano provided the musical accompaniment. Kristi Wahl was a skillful stage manager.

It seemed like just a simple story. But in a fascinating way, it also skillfully introduced the eager youngsters to the voice ranges (tenor, soprano, alto and bass) and the four families of instruments (strings, wood winds, brass and percussion).

All this in slightly less than an hour.

When talking with Ms. Hoffmann and the cast, one quickly realizes they are intelligent, very talented professionals who put their whole selves into their work. They are young men and women who care about their audiences. They are graduate students in schools of music with aspirations for careers in opera. The children were taken with them; they find joy in what they do.

Dan Keeling spoke for all, when he said "When you see the looks in the children's eyes, you know it's all worthwhile. It opens up a new world to the youngsters and we hope they will have a lifetime of musical enjoyment. Some of them may want to have a career in opera."

This year, Kentucky Opera staged sixty performances and Louisville Music News salutes all who make it happen.