“Seriously, it was fabulous. The program was designed for children, so they had their own seating area right up front, while we sat towards the back. The woman who led the program was entertaining and taught the children appropriate opera behavior….The performance was great…and my two busy, noisy boys were captivated. The entire time.”
--Parent who attended a McMenamins performance
Portland Opera To Go works to reach out to under-served schools and communities. One goal of our program is to bring arts and culture to areas of Oregon with little access to that type of activity. Twenty-five percent of schools visited were in very rural Oregon cities and towns. We went outside the Portland Metro area to towns like The Dalles, Waldport, Tillamook, Nehalem, Halfway, and Ontario to name a few. Seventy-two percent of schools visited were Title I schools and fifty-three percent of children receiving services were in free or reduced lunch programs--an indicator of poverty. This exceeded our Title I goal which helps us to see we reached children in the greatest need fo arts and culture experience.
Overall, Portland Opera is committed to diversity. The demographic breakdown of all students visited in 2012 was: 63% Caucasian; 8% Asian/Pacific Islander; 16% Hispanic; 2% Native American; and 7% Black, not Hispanic.
Portland Opera To Go completed its 2012 winter tour in March 2012. In all, more than 14,000+ children in 55 performances including 41 elementary schools, all 8 McMenamin's locations, and other performance locations across Oregon enjoyed an English-language production of Engelbert Humperdinck's "Hansel and Gretel" and in-class residencies. In so doing, we increased the number of students we reached by 3700 over 2011. Study guides, designed for teachers with little formal arts training, provide approved lesson plans bench-marked to Oregon Department of Education learning guidelines. 90% of participating teacher used at least one lesson plan in their classroom and indicated that curricular materials were appropriate for their students.
Here are samples of what parents and teachers had to say about this year's outreach:
“Every single person involved was spectacular! It’s an experience my kids and I, and I’m sure many others at the school, will never forget. A number of parents, as well as other people from this school district, sent emails to me expressing gratitude for bringing this kind of cultural experience to our children. They all realize the value of this kind of outreach and impact it has on kids.”
-- Third grade teacher, Pleasant Valley Primary
“I have never seen an opera before. So to me this was a new thing. I always thought opera was boring. But you showed me that opera can be pretty fun. Oh by the way you guys are talented!”
-- Elementary student
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