At the British International School of Chicago, South Loop, students in Year 5 created an opera with internationally recognised mezzo-soprano from The Juilliard School, Rachel Calloway. Using the book Clockwork by Phillip Pullman as inspiration, the students created an opera teaser. Working with students using many of the activities and techniques from the Juilliard Creative Classroom, an online resource for teachers and students, Rachel helped to guide students through the composition process. Together they looked at the different emotions in the story, wrote lyrics, took simple melodic ideas, and developed them into a song. Using their voices and keyboard skills to help them express their ideas, they slowly created an opera. Rachel also guided musical theatre students on bringing their characters to life.
“I felt so proud and excited that [Rachel Calloway] liked [our opera] and was going to work with us. I never thought I could write an opera and work with a famous opera singer,” said Year 5 student Rocco Pitroen after presenting to Rachel their final opera.