The Tulsa Opera Student Matinee Brings 2,300 TPS Students to the Tulsa Performing Arts Center
The Tulsa Opera Student Matinee, in its seventh year, will add a special student performance of Don Quichotte on Tuesday, April 20, 2010, at 10 a.m. at the Tulsa Performing Arts Center. 2,300 Tulsa Public School students will arrive downtown on more than forty buses, funded entirely by donations to the Tulsa Opera, and see the full length opera. Prior to the performance each school received a teaching packet with information about the opera, vocabulary, and other reference materials to prepare them for their theater experience. For many of these students, this will be the only live music they experience all year.
A special fundraising campaign, launched by the Tulsa Opera Board of Directors in late February, brought back the Student Matinee Program, which had been cut for the 2009/10 Season due to a difficult economic climate. The popular education program adds an additional main stage performance and costs approximately $30,000 to produce. Board member Scott Filstrup responded to the education program cut, pledging $15,000 from The Filstrup Foundation and soliciting donations from area individuals and organizations to fund the program. Over $35,000 was received, allowing the Tulsa Opera to offer the matinee to students free of charge and cover all ancillary expenses, like buses.
“The positive response from the Tulsa Public Schools has been overwhelming. We are grateful to be able to invite 2,300 students to experience the power and drama of opera,” said John Peter Jeffries, executive director of Tulsa Opera.
“All of our fine arts programs have grown over the past decade and there is a shared consensus among school board members and our senior administration that the arts provide key learning and career opportunities for our students,” said Dr. Ann Tomlins, fine arts coordinator for Tulsa Public Schools.
Tulsa Opera’s educational programs have already had a recording-breaking year, reaching over 80,000 Oklahoma students with Opera on Tour!, a statewide elementary school tour of “Green Eggs and Ham” by Dr. Seuss, and a newly introduced middle and high school tour of “The Elixir of Love” by Gaetano Donizetti. These traveling opera adaptations visited more than 120 schools in Oklahoma this year.