2019-2020 Poetry & Music Project

In Fall 2019, Opera Omaha and Nebraska Writers Collective invited students in grades K-12 from Nebraska and Iowa to submit works of poetry on themes of creativity, community, identity, and youth. Nebraska Writers Collective created prompts for inspiration and Opera Omaha and Nebraska Writers Collective facilitated writing workshops focused on writing for music. Opera Omaha received 29 poems submitted by 22 students! The poets are students in grades 4-12 from five Nebraska Counties: Cedar, Douglas, Gage, Lancaster, and Sarpy.

From the pool of poetry submissions, composers Frances Pollock and Matt Browne, alumni of the American Opera Project Composers & the Voice program, selected ten of these poems by nine poets to set to music based on what inspired them. In Spring 2020, the poets and composers came together in Omaha to collaborate on these original pieces in music workshops with Opera Omaha’s Holland Community Opera Fellows.

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Want to learn more about the Poetry & Music Project Composers?
Visit their websites to hear samples of their music:
Matt Browne
Frances Pollock

Poems Selected to Be Set to Music

“Earth She Is” MaKayla Bemley, Logan Fontenelle Middle School
“Untitled: My Dad Was a Solider” Shaye-Maleah Howe, Beatrice High School
“A Broken Me” Blakely Kenzy, Elkhorn Middle School
“The Question” Nathaniel Kielian, Creighton Prep
“White Trash” Josiah Lindstrom, Beatrice High School
“Youth” Zachary Scott, Beatrice High School
“The Cedar County Fair” Breah Steffen, Holy Trinity Elementary
“Life in Nebraska” Ava Stewart, Holy Trinity Elementary Hartington
“Showing Cattle” Ava Stewart, Holy Trinity Elementary Hartington
“A Silent Land” Emmalee Undereiner, Beatrice High School

Virtual Concert

This 40 minute concert was broadcast live on Facebook on May 17, 2020, and was hosted by Nebraska State Poet Matt Mason.

Watch concert here

Recorded Pieces

Earth She Is


The Cedar County Fair

Life in Nebraska

A Silent Land

Project Partners

Poetry & Music Project is funded in part by

2018-2019 Poetry & Music Project

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