In the Wings

Backstage glimpses with Boston Lyric Opera

Meet BLO's Teaching Artists

May 22, 2013 2:37:00 PM
By BLO Staff

In honor of 
BLO would
like to thank all of the teaching artists 
from the 2012/13 season.
Teaching Artists are working artists who engage learners of
all ages  by teaching their craft.  In the 2012/13 season, Boston Lyric
Opera  has proudly worked with a number
of talented Teaching Artists (some of whom appear regularly onstage with us!) who bring opera into the
community—particularly with children—to increase exposure and practice of the
art form.
These teaching artists are an integral part of most of our
community engagement events: workshops
at the Boston Public Library,
annual Open House,
with Wheelock Family Theatre,
and Music!
Words! Opera! Classroom visits
.  Because of the collaboration with teaching
artists, audiences have opportunities to learn and ask questions about opera
with real, working opera performers .
Meet BLO's Teaching Artists:
"My favorite moment of the season was 
coaching little
kids at the West Roxbury 
library for The Magic Flute tableaux. They were 
uninhibited and creative—it was a joy to watch!”
Heather Gallagher joined
BLO at Boston Public Library workshops and this year’s Wheelock Family Theatre
Workshop at the Open House.  She is a
recipient of an Encouragement Award from the Licia-Albanese Puccini Foundation
(2011), and the 2nd Place Award for Metro West Opera's 2011 Opera Competition. This
year Heather was a member of the chorus in BLO’s  widely acclaimed productions of Madama Butterfly and The Flying Dutchman. This month she
makes her debut in the title role of Bizet's Carmen with Metrowest Opera. She will return to BLO in the 2013/14 season as a Resident Teaching Artist.  To learn more about Heather’s work, visit 
"My favorite thing about working as a teaching
artist is seeing the brilliant smiles on children and
adults of all ages as they sing and as theater 
is brought to life in front of them. BLO bridges the 
gap between the performer and the audience 
through community work."
In addition to singing in the
chorus for The Flying Dutchman this
season, Vanessa Schukis provided the
vocal demonstrations at this year’s Open House and taught Boston Public
Library workshops. Ms. Schukis has a multi-faceted career as a character mezzo,
actress, stage director, choreographer, vocal coach, educator, and author of two children’s
books.  She has sung
a wide variety of operatic, oratorio and Broadway repertoire to great critical
acclaim.  In addition to being a
performer, Vanessa is an award-winning teacher with over thirty years
experience in performing arts education focusing on students with learning
disabilities and special needs. 
Currently Vanessa teaches music through the outreach program of The
Community Music Center of Boston. For more information about Ms. Schukis, visit
" My favorite thing about working as a teaching artist
with BLO this season was watching the students grow.
In just two days, a bunch of nervous, excited students
learned and mastered challenging music, took risks, 
and became accomplished performers in their own right.
The look on their faces, with the full knowledge of
what they had achieved, was an absolute thrill."
Brendan Buckley co-taught the 2-Day Opera
and Dramatic Performance Workshop for teens with Wheelock Family Theatre this
past fall. He is a MA native and is quickly gaining a reputation as a skilled and
sought-after performer, recently performing as Howard Boucher in Boston Opera
Collaborative’s New England premiere of Dead
Man Walking
.  He is also a
passionate educator, with ten years of experience teaching both adults and
children. For
more information about Mr. Buckley, visit   
"Teaching for the BLO/WFT Opera Program is a wonderful
opportunity to work with teens who are passionate about
opera, classical music, and musical theatre. In the Gilbert 
and Sullivan workshop they truly embraced the extremes
of character and comedy to be found in operettas."
Grace Napier, an Equity actor, singer, dancer
and graduate of MIT, teaches for BLO through Wheelock Family Theatre. She
has enjoyed a successful professional acting career throughout the United States and Canada.  Career highlights include touring with Rudolf
Nureyev in The King and I, starring opposite Stacy Keach in A Christmas Carol, and performing classic  roles like Cinderella,  Julie Jordan, and Yum Yum. Most
recently, she directed WFT's acclaimed Story Troupers and an IRNE
main stage production of  Seussical. 
It is the dedicated and generous work of Teaching Artists, often
taking place between auditions, rehearsals, performances, running private music
studios, day-jobs, and family-life that make BLO youth education programs a
success. We hope you’ll join us at a community engagement event next season, where you
might just meet a member of this talented team!  
Throughout the 2012/13 Season, BLO youth education programs have impacted nearly 1,000 students in after-school programs, opera and dramatic workshops, free community events, and in-school outreach. Help BLO continue to share opera with young learners in our community and donate today.

Topics: arts in education, Music Education, Open House, Wheelock Family Theatre, Teaching Artists

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