News From Masters
Fifth graders skillfully performed their Original Puppet Operas before an enthusiastic audience of families on May 31 in Doc Wilson Hall.
During their performances, the fifth graders held vividly colored puppets that represented their assigned god or goddess. They had designed and created the puppets under the guidance of art teacher Bruce Robbins.
The two original operas were the result of a yearlong interdisciplinary curriculum that includes music theory and vocals, writing, choreography, artistic creation, role playing, research, science, and literature based in Egyptian culture.
Early in the year, the fifth graders researched their Egyptian gods and goddesses, learned about the history of ancient Egypt, and even studied mummification as part of their science lessons. In English class, they collaborated to write their opera stories and turn them into scores.
The students began their journey with a trip to the Metropolitan Museum of Art to explore ancient Egyptian culture. Back in the classroom, they wrote original plays based on their inspiration from the museum trip and their work in humanities class. In music class, the students attended a Metropolitan Opera final dress rehearsal and later learned to compose and notate their story as an opera. In rehearsals, the students learned to vocalize their operas.
In the process, the students learned how to collaborate and problem-solve, said Katie Meadows, Coordinator of Middle School Music and one of the teachers who worked with the students on the operas.
When working on the puppets, the fifth graders began by creating drawings of each puppet and went on to learn about color theory, sculpting and costume design, Mr. Robbins said.
Science and history teacher Heather Sherman and English teacher Michaela Boller also worked with the students to make the Puppet Operas a reality this year.