Nursery Road Elementary School composing original opera

Nursery Road Elementary School-Arts Magnet is in the process of creating an original schoolwide opera.

“Creating Original Opera” is designed to be an integral part of a school’s curriculum, in which an entire grade participates and an entire school is involved. The program is more than a performance, but a large and long-term cooperative project that all members of the grade can contribute to and learn from.

The entire process started in September of last year, and students are responsible for every aspect of the performance. The fifth grade class is taking the lead on jobs that will bring the opera to life. Jobs include writers, composers, choreographers, set designers, historians, carpenters, electricians, performers, stage managers, production managers and public relations. Nursery Road Elementary School’s Magnet Lead Teacher Lisa Brooks went through a 10-day training with the Metropolitan Opera company and led the Opera with her students in 1997 and 1999 while she taught in North Carolina and Beaufort, South Carolina.

“The philosophy is that it is a gradual release of teachers are in charge and then by the time the performance happens the students are in charge,” Brooks said. “The process teaches them valuable life skills.”

Students who are writing and composing the opera decided the setting for the play will be a trampoline park. Brooks contacted Flight Adventure Park in Irmo to schedule a field study to the park in order to gather research for the production.

“The purpose of our trip to Flight Adventure is to do as much research as possible of the physical space in order to best recreate the “feel” of the space in our school in order to bring it to life on our school’s Center Stage,” Brooks said. “Each student brought a notebook where they took their notes for about an hour and then students had another hour to jump and enjoy the park.”

Flight Adventure Park General Manager Brenshon Stovall received approval from the corporate office to host Nursery Road Elementary free of charge for admission, students only had to pay for Flight grip socks.

“We are a part of this community and we’re are happy to provide our facility to Nursery Road Elementary to help them come together and do something incredible,” Stovall said. “All throughout the year these kids come and visit us for birthday parties, they play hockey and they figure skate at our facility, so it is exciting to see them now using this space as a school setting gathering research for their schoolwide production.”

The opera will be performed at Nursery Road Elementary School in April.