The Opera Participation Project—Involving Bay Area Youth in the Vocal Arts

  • The Talent Bank
Part of the Nonprofit Management and Finance book series (NOMA)


Students in San Francisco’s lower income parochial schools have traditionally been underexposed to the arts, especially opera. When they are given a chance to experience the arts, it is usually as spectators — and almost never as participants.

The Opera Participation Project breaks this pattern. As its name implies, it is designed to help students understand and appreciate opera through participation in actual opera performances at the school sites. During the past four years, we have reached 10,000 disadvantaged 4th, 5th, and 6th graders in over fifty San Francisco parochial schools with a unique three-phase program that teaches through involvement, and excites through participation.

At the same time, we give a number of talented Bay Area singers expert, individualized training. They learn to improve their art by performing. They learn to teach children about opera by helping run music demonstrations in schools. They get expert coaching every step of the way. And they are paid for all performances they give through the Opera Participation Project.

What are the benefits of the Opera Participation Project? For students, heightened excitement and interest in music, as well as increased self-confidence and oral expression skills. For our singers, an opportunity to gain performance experience at the same time they support their artistic training. For our community, the promise of arts support tomorrow from students we reach in today’s Mission District classroom.

We will be taking our unique project into thirteen schools in the Mission District in 1978. In order to help us reach these children with our program, we are requesting a grant of $4,250 from [] to support the second phase of our three-phase Project — a series of instructional demonstrations that take place on-site at the thirteen schools we work with. We give three demonstrations in each school. They are designed to teach students to appreciate music by introducing them to the basics, and then having them actually sing with our teachers.

These demonstrations are the central learning experience of our project. They offer students the opportunity to observe and perform with trained opera singers. Our demonstrations are the logical prelude to the climactic final production of Britten’s “Noye’s Fludde,” which involves students from all participating schools.

At []’s suggestion, we submit this proposal for funding under the category “Performance and Instruction of Arts and Music at the School Site.” We think you will agree the Opera Participation Project is an exciting way to bring musical instruction to parochial school students in San Francisco.


School Site Musical Instruction Parochial School Director Coach Community Advisory Committee 
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© Springer Science+Business Media New York 1983

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  • The Talent Bank

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