23-24 Poetry & Music Project Concert

Now in its 7th year, the Poetry & Music Project connects student writers and their words with composers to create original scores and explore the connections between poetry and music.

In Fall 2023, Opera Omaha and the Nebraska Writers Collective invited students from Nebraska and Iowa to submit works of poetry on the theme “Discovery” focusing on the subthemes Examining Growth, Uncovering Art, Pinpointing Place, Exploring Relationships, and Finding Yourself. Throughout the fall over 470 elementary, middle, and high school students took part in NWC led Poetry & Music writing workshops focused on helping students to add musicality to their poetry.

Opera Omaha received 103 poem submissions from student poets at 45 schools in 12 counties across Nebraska and Iowa. The poets ranged from second graders to high school seniors, including first time poets and seasoned writers. All poems are included in the Poetry & Music Project Book.
While there were many outstanding poems submitted to the project, in the end, project composers Amber Vistein and Sidney Marquez Boquiren selected 13 poems that inspired them and took to the task of setting these poems to original music. In Spring 2024, poets and composers along with project pianist, Opera Omaha Head of Music Josh Quinn, and Opera Omaha singers gathered for workshops to collaborate on the original pieces of music. These workshops were a magnificent inspiration for the composers and singers as they heard the students read the poems in their own voice for the first time. The students participated in the collaborative process of molding the pieces into their final form through thoughtful questions and energetic responses.

Selected Poems

“A Rainy Day… Time Flies…” by Marty Minor, Lewis and Clark Middle School (Omaha), 7th Grade

“Friends” by Sylvia Kastl, Norfolk Catholic (Norfolk), 5th Grade

“From Darkness to Light” by Stephany Orellana-Gomez, Benson High School (Omaha), 10th Grade

“I Am A Weird Kid” by Thaddeus Horner, Hayward Elementary (Nebraska City,) 3rd Grade

“It Is What It Is” by Jackson Rios, Norfolk Catholic Elementary (Norfolk), 3rd Grade

“3-1=2” by Keelynn Reese, Titan Hill Intermediate School (Council Bluffs, IA), 5th Grade

“Laika” by Ava Larson Gallegos, Brownell Talbot (Omaha), 11th Grade

“My Home” by Annabelle Wilson, St. Patrick School (McCook), 6th Grade

“Finding My Story” by Emelia Howell, Homeschool (Bennington), 5th Grade

“A Tale of Introversion” by Norah Purcell, Central High School (Omaha), 12th Grade

“Don’t Grow Up” by Zehla Sobansky, Kiewit Middle School (Omaha), 7th Grade

“The Sun” by Evie Nelson, Gretna High School (Gretna), 9th Grade

“US” by River Sirek, Sacred Heart Elementary (Norfolk), 3rd Grade

Recorded Pieces

Laika

Performed by CeCe Hastreiter
Words by Ava Larson Gallegos | Music by Sidney Marquez Boquiren

3-1=2

Performed by Gavin Rasmussen
Words by Keelynn Reese | Music by Amber Vistein

Friends

Performed by Jesse Wohlman
Words by Sylvia Kastl | Music by Amber Vistein

Home

Performed by Alejandra Sandoval-Montañez
Words by Annabelle Wilson | Music by Sidney Marquez Boquiren

Don't Grow Up

Performed by Gavin Rasmussen
Words by Zehla Sobansky | Music by Amber Vistein

A Rainy Day…Time Flies

Performed my Alejandra Sandoval-Montañez
Words by Marty Minor | Music by Sidney Marquez Boquiren

The Sun

Performed by CeCe Hastreiter
Words by Evie Nelson | Music by Sidney Marquez Boquiren

I'm a Weird Kid

Performed by Jesse Wohlman
Words by Thaddeus Horner | Music by Amber Vistein

A Tale of Introversion

Performed by Gavin Rasmussen
Words by Norah Purcell | Music by Amber Vistein

Finding My Story

Performed by Alejandra Sandoval-Montañez
Words by Emelia Howell | Music by Sidney Marquez Boquiren

From Darkness to Light

Performed by CeCe Hastreiter
Words by Stephany Orellana-Gomez | Music by Sidney Marquez Boquiren

Us

Performed by Jesse Wohlman
Words by River Sirek | Music by Amber Vistein

It Is What It Is

Performed by Alejandra Sandoval-Montañez
Words by Jackson Rios | Music by Sidney Marquez Boquiren

Project Timeline

September 2023 - Submissions Open
October & November 2023 - Writing Workshops
November 30, 2023 - Submission Deadline
December 2023- Composers Select Poems
January 2024 - Poets of Selected Pieces Notified, Composers Writing Time
February- Music Workshop with Composers and Poets of the Selected Pieces
April 2024- Poetry & Music Project Concert

Partners

Producing Partner

Additional partners include

Supported by

Past Years

2022/2023

For More Information
Contact: Lauren Medici | Opera Omaha Director of Engagement Programs
Lmedici@operaomaha.org | 402-346-7372