My girls and I went to spend an afternoon at Houston Grand Opera’s Storybook Opera event at Discovery Green! First off, if you haven’t checked out Discovery Green and their free weekend and holiday events, it is definitely worth the trip! I will definitely be back! There are so many free, fun, outdoor things to do with multiple ages of children and lots of vendors for food/drinks when the kids (or mamas) need to refuel. During Spring Break, Houston Grand Opera hosted free First Songs and Storybook Opera events (Look for ‘HGO To-Go!’ events throughout the year!) The event included a story reading, an author meet and greet, imaginative play, singing and dancing! My girls had so much fun buzzing around like bumblebees in the story (in true toddler fashion, Ruthie absolutely did NOT want to be a fairy), twirling to classical music with the “tooth fairy”, singing songs, receiving a copy of The World’s First Tooth Fairy Ever and even meeting author Zane Carson Carruth. HGO managed to incorporate learning opportunities with music, imaginative play, literacy, career exploration and movement into a fun and adorable program for multiple ages of children! It was an awesome free event in the beautiful outdoor space of Discovery Green and definitely made me think about how amazing an Houston Grand Opera summer camp must be!
You’ve probably heard all about the benefits of musical exposure in early childhood and seen first-hand how children naturally appreciate music, but musical exposure continues to benefit children throughout their life. Kathleen Staten, HGO Education Manager, told us, “Encouraging your children in the arts has so many benefits beyond just the skills they might learn. It helps develop their brains, encourages creativity and provides a place for limitless exploration as they find their own identity.” If your songbird has dreams of singing onstage, what better camp than Houston Grand Opera, where they will be taught by the experts?
Three musical activities that will benefit children:
- Learning to read music. Check out these YouTube video on Music Sight Reading for a great introduction to sight reading!
- Learning an instrument. Check iQuriousKids.com for instrument lessons for all ages.
- Attending performances together. My girls loved the Storybook Opera performances in Discovery Green (scheduled year-round: Check here for updated events.)
Why Houston Grand Opera Summer Camp? Students have the opportunity to learn from experienced, inspirational instructors in an authentic stage “classroom” inside the Wortham Center with access to all of the high quality materials that HGO uses for their major productions! Get your video-camera ready because opera camps end in a final concert, which both parents and students love. Not many summer programs include “performances/recitals” due to time constraints, so this is definitely something really special.
What will your singing star do at camp? “Opera camp is about so much more than opera! While the focus in all of our camps is on healthy singing technique, the skills involved in producing the culminating performances include collaboration, communication, self-confidence in presentation and so much more. Depending on the camp the students choose, they may focus primarily on vocal technique and music theory/literacy or, in our ‘Create an Opera’ camp, they get to be a part of the entire process! Students in ‘Create an Opera’ help write the story and music (with the guidance of professionals), create costumes, props and sets and then perform their work. The ‘Art of Opera’ provides a coveted chance for high school students to perform a full (small-scale) opera production with professional-level costumes, scenery, staging and live music in the Heinen Theater.”
Who can attend camp? Camps are intended for 3rd thru 12th graders. Some camps/programs may require previous singing experience, auditions and/or recommendations. If your child isn’t old enough to attend camp just yet, definitely plan to attend one of the HGO Storybook Opera or First Songs events soon! My girls couldn’t help but sing and wiggle along!
When is camp? Camps are held weekly in June. Each week has a different focus. Register for auditions and camps as soon as possible as camps are limited in space and fill up quickly each year!
In the comments, tell us your favorite opera or musical!
By Mary West
Mama of 2, Wife, Teacher/Tutor; My favorite opera is La Boheme!