Salt Marsh Opera Visit and Field Trip for 6th Grade

On April 10, the 6th Grade will be treated to a visit from a Salt Marsh Opera singer and accompanist, who will present a workshop to teach the students a little about opera.
The visitors will also give students some background information about Jack and Jill and the Happening Hill, an original opera that they will be seeing on a field trip to the Garde on April 23 with their English classes. These events are made possible in large part by Simon Holt, who is both Williams' newest music teacher as well as the Artistic Director and General Manager of the Salt Marsh Opera itself.

For six years, Salt Marsh Opera’s Kids Love Opera! program has worked with fifth and sixth grade students in southeastern Connecticut and southern Rhode Island to stimulate enthusiasm for opera. While Salt Marsh Opera has relied with great success on performances of such classic works as The Magic Flute, La Cenerentola and Gianni Schicchi, by preparing students with in-school visits and study guides, they will be presenting a brand new opera written specifically for this age group in 2018.

Entitled Jack and Jill and The Happening Hill, this hour-long piece follows a storyline in which Jack and Jill, best friends separated involuntarily at the top of a hill, search for each other through forest and field, longing for reunion. Throughout, they sing of both the tender and the humorous parts of their friendship. Along the way, they encounter characters who inspire them, to their surprise, to greater efforts. Jill is mentored by a Poet and an Astronomer, Jack by a Nature Lover and a Jokester, each of whom counsels a new way to approach the journey. When eventually they have to nap, both are provided the final key to success by a magical figure who enters their dreams. Joyously, they find each other, again on the top of the hill. The central theme proposes the multi-faceted blessing of friendship. Other themes include the virtues of self-expression, of listening, of widening one’s perspective and of laughter. 

Salt Marsh Opera is collaborating with a group of parents and teachers throughout the creative process. Not only are students participating in the creation of both music and libretto, they are also designing sets, costumes and choreography. In the spirit of full participation, audience members will be invited to join the stage play at several intervals during the performance. Salt Marsh Opera believes that students’ participation in both the creative process and performance can lead to a deeper and more meaningful understanding of opera.