By Olivia Havel, HGOco Intern
Summer break is a perfect time for kids to explore new activities they may not have the chance to experience in school or at home. And what better place to do so than summer camp! As a music education student and veteran counselor of various Houston-area camps, I was excited to join HGO’s Opera Camp team. I wasn’t sure what to expect going in, but, with no surprise, HGO completely exceeded my expectations
In my first week of Opera Experience, I quickly learned why kids, counselors, and teachers alike come back to Opera Camp year after year. Opera Experience gives kids a chance to develop both their choral and solo singing skills while simultaneously learning music theory and new music. My fellow counselors and I were there to help support the kids through their rehearsals to ensure they would learn all the music and movements for the final performance. It was fun singing with the kids and watching how musically engaged they were throughout rehearsals. Each counselor was also responsible for teaching a music theory class during the first four days of camp. I had never taught music curriculum to anyone other than my college peers, so the music theory classes were among the most rewarding experiences for me as a music education student. It was great practice having to create lesson plans for each class and learning how to adapt my teaching to ensure each student understood the material.
In Create an Opera, the campers continue to develop their singing skills as they collaborate with each other and the camp staff to create their own opera based on a children’s story. This year, Create an Opera took on the story of Pandora’s Box. I was amazed by the kids’ creativity as we wrote both a libretto and score and created their own props, set, and costumes. When all the aspects of the show came together, it was awesome to see how proud and excited the kids were to share their creation. During the performance, one of the campers, Sean, turned to me with a huge smile and whispered “This is my part!!” just before walking to the front of the stage for his solo. It was heartwarming to share the incredible excitement he had in that moment and perfectly captured why HGO’s camps are so important.
As a future music educator, I am so happy to know HGO is able to provide such a nurturing and fun environment for kids to learn and experience music and opera. The campers learn valuable music skills while making lasting friendships and memories that will stay with them for years to come. I am so thankful I had the opportunity to work with Opera Camp this summer and I can’t wait to see what other amazing programs HGOco brings to Houston communities as it continues to inspire the next generation of opera lovers and musicians.