On November 2, the Omaha Symphony presented Choral Collaborative... a concert that featured 7 local high school choirs, singing large choral works with professional musicians. A lot of hard work went into that performance to create a once-in-a-lifetime experience for these talented teens. One of those teens, Camille Akers of the Westside choir, wrote a fantastic poem about what Choral Collaborative meant to her... check it out!
If in a battle of the tunes,
Opera would be sure to lose.
Compared to rap, pop, and soul,
Some think opera can’t fill the hole
Inside where all good music lies,
But opera is a special prize
That only some of us can see,
It can really set you free
I must admit I was quite scared,
While at the music we all stared.
This was stuff I’d not done before,
I did not know what was in store.
While in the stage of struggling,
I felt like I was juggling
A dozen eggs and a bowling ball,
While trying so hard not to fall.
It was discouraging at times,
For we had yet to reach our prime.
When J. Gawf came to see us here,
Beads of sweat started to appear.
The languages of life and love—
How could we fit it all above?
We said the words right after him
And we all stepped out on a limb.
To make him happy was our goal,
It was like walking on hot coal.
Big heavy voices got us burned,
So how to laugh is what we learned.
Light and crisp was the new sound—
The perfect opera was found!
From that day on we really worked,
While closer still the concert lurked.
We thought that we had it all right,
When Ernest then showed us the light.
Our Maestro had a vision set,
But we just couldn’t see it yet.
We spent with him an hour or two,
Him telling us all what to do.
I really think that it was best
That we did not have time to rest,
Because then all his needs were met,
And we did not have time to forget.
For a few more weeks we worked off these
Directions—we began to please!
We sounded great and we could see
The complicated melodies.
For opera is—as we have found,
A blend of many different sounds.
It floats from us into the breeze,
Made from the sopranos’ high Cs.
Now that the dirty work had past,
The impression now began to last.
It was plain that I could see
Opera, in fact, has changed me,
In ways I couldn’t see before,
When I thought I was fighting in a war,
Against the words I couldn’t say
For good luck, I began to pray.
But it turned out we didn’t need
Any luck, for I could read
The many faces in the crowd
Looking at us, all so proud.
The concert now is finally done,
It really was a lot more fun
Than I ever thought it’d be,
The experience has stuck with me.
I tried my best at something new
And by the end, we all said, “Phew!”
And though I’m not the next big star
In operas written from afar,
I know that opera’s found a place
In my heart and on my face,
Smiling at the funny thought
That pirates are a scurvy lot!
Thank you, Camille... for your wonderful response & for sharing it with others!
To learn more about the symphony's education programs, check out this link.