Posted on 2/2/14

oso1 300OWENSBORO, Ky. (10/15/13) – Repetition, repetition, repetition, repetition, is how Sutton Elementary Music teacher Vic Harrison is teaching third and fourth grade members of the Sutton Elementary Chorus how to sing their parts in Italian for the Owensboro Symphony Orchestra’s performance of Puccini’s La Boheme.

They will perform Sunday in Act 2, which calls for a group of children to sing.

“The hardest part is getting all the words into the very fast tempos and complex rhythms that Italian opera sometimes includes. Puccini certainly does that in Act 2,” explained Harrison. “It’s difficult because they are third and fourth graders, but they also pick up well on foreign languages because they are third and fourth graders,” said Harrison.

He says he has found that repetition is the key to teaching his students to sing the score. “The problem is our limited practice time that makes it very difficult. So, we have made videos and put a link on my blog so that students can link to and watch the video of our pronunciations on YouTube. And, we are practicing hard to perfect our performance,” Harrison explained.

The students are also performing with the Kentucky Wesleyan Singers and cast members of the Kentucky Opera Company who will also be a part of the OSO performance this Saturday at 7:30 p.m. at the RiverPark Center. Tickets are available by calling the RiverPark Center Box Office.

“Back in 1989 and 1991, I was privileged to sing in the Kentucky Opera chorus in Louisville and it is a thrill to be a part of a production like an opera, which draws together all four of the fine arts disciplines in glorious fashion--music, theatre, visual art, and many times dance. So I'm very happy for my students to be a part of this,” Harrison said. “This opera really is a fantastic ‘synthesis’ of not only the performing arts, but also of the musical elements we learn about every year in elementary school—those of rhythm, melody, timbre, tempo, harmony, form, dynamics—they are all there, and it’s great for the children to see that in real life. We are very fortunate to perform on stage with an outstanding orchestra and Maestro Palmer,” he said.

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