Poetry & Music Project 20/21

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

In Fall 2020, Opera Omaha and the Nebraska Writers Collective invited students in grades K-12 from Nebraska and Iowa to submit works of poetry on themes of Emotion, Connection, Uncovering History, Stuck in Place / Getting Un-Stuck. Opera Omaha received 69 submissions from 59 poets in grades 2 through 12, across 9 Nebraska counties: Burt, Cedar, Cuming, Custer, Douglas, Hall, Lancaster, Otoe, Sarpy, plus Anita County, Iowa. There were many outstanding poems submitted to the project and after a blind review project composers Frances Pollock and Matt Browne, alumni of the American Opera Project Composers & the Voice program, selected eleven poems to set to music based on what inspired them.

In March, poets and composers gathered virtually for music workshops. These closed workshops were a time for poets and composers to work together with the musicians on the original pieces of music with Opera Omaha Holland Community Opera Fellows and Head of Music Sean Kelly.

The completed works were performed by Opera Omaha’s Holland Community Opera Fellows and premiered at a free virtual concert May 16th, 2021.

The Poetry & Music Project is produced in partnership with Nebraska Writers Collective and The American Opera Project and supported in part by Humanities Nebraska.

20/21 Poetry & Music Project Book

Poetry & Music Project 20/21 Concert

The Poetry & Music Project Concert premiered virtually on Facebook and YouTube on May 16th, 2021. Hosted live by Nebraska State Poet Matt Mason and HCOF Fellow Fernando Montejano, the concert featured eleven original pieces composed by Matt Browne and Frances Pollock with lyrics by our student poets performed by HCOF Fellows Jared Hiscock, Gwenna Fairchild-Taylor, and Nicholas Davis!

Watch Concert

20/21 Selected Poets and Poems

“Untold History”, Lily Barry Lincoln Southwest High
Music Composed by Frances Pollock | Performed by Gwenna Fairchild-Taylor
“Mom :)”, Harper Burgert Whitetail Elementary
Music Composed by Frances Pollock | Performed by Nicholas Davis
“To: Happiness”, Connor Callen Hayward Elementary
Music Composed by Matt Browne | Performed by Gwenna Fairchild-Taylor
“Dear Grandpa”, Heidi Donegan Callaway Public School
Music Composed by Frances Pollock | Performed by Nicholas Davis
“Ode to 2020”, Brooklyn Grandgenett Lyons-Decatur Northeast
Music Composed by Frances Pollock | Performed by Gwenna Fairchild-Taylor
“On the Inside”, Kyson Lammers Holy Trinity Elementary
Music Composed by Matt Browne | Performed by Jared Hiscock
“The Lovers of Modena”, Ava Larson Brownell Talbot
Music Composed by Matt Browne | Performed by Jared Hiscock
“Emotion”, Zane Maltas Lincoln Southwest High
Music Composed by Matt Browne | Performed by Jared Hiscock
“Human Connection”, MacKenzie Painter Lincoln Southwest High
Music Composed by Frances Pollock | Performed by Nicholas Davis
“The Seed”, Beckett Pinder Whitetail Elementary
Music Composed by Matt Browne | Performed by Nicholas Davis
“Un-Stuck”, Brooklyn Westlund Lincoln Southwest High
Music Composed by Matt Browne | Performed by Gwenna Fairchild-Taylor

Recorded Pieces

Dear Grandpa
Composed by Frances Pollock
Words by Heidi Donegan
Performed by Nicholas Davis, baritone & Sean Kelly, piano


Emotion
Composed by Matt Browne
Words by Zane Maltas
Performed by Jared Hiscock, baritone & Sean Kelly, piano


Human Connection
Composed by Frances Pollock
Words by MacKenzie Painter
Performed by Nicholas Davis, baritone & Sean Kelly, piano


Mom :)
Composed by Frances Pollock
Words by Harper Burgert
Performed by Nicholas Davis, baritone & Sean Kelly, piano


Ode to 2020
Composed by Frances Pollock
Words by Brooklyn Grandgenett
Performed by Gwenna Fairchild-Taylor, soprano & Sean Kelly, piano


On the Inside
Composed by Matt Browne
Words by Kyson Lammers
Performed by Jared Hiscock, baritone & Sean Kelly, piano


The Lovers of Modena
Composed by Matt Browne
Words by Ava Larson
Performed by Jared Hiscock, baritone & Sean Kelly, piano


The Seed
Composed by Matt Browne
Words by Beckett Pinder
Performed by Nicholas Davis, baritone & Sean Kelly, piano


To: Happiness
Composed by Matt Browne
Words by Connor Callen
Performed by Gwenna Fairchild-Taylor, soprano & Sean Kelly, piano


Un-Stuck
Composed by Matt Browne
Words by Brooklyn Westlund
Performed by Gwenna Fairchild-Taylor, soprano & Sean Kelly, piano


Untold History
Composed by Frances Pollock
Words by Lily Barry
Performed by Gwenna Fairchild-Taylor, soprano

Project Partners

Poetry & Music Project is supported by