Oct 5, 2010

As we quickly approach the opening of our 53rd Season with Opera for the Cure, I am thinking about what collaboration means to Opera Omaha. You will see in all of our materials our tagline, “Opera for Everyone” and we truly believe that opera IS for everyone. Part of this belief fuels us in seeking out community partners that we can share our mission with. A few of the excellent relationships we have had over the years include Bloodlines with South High School, All the King’s Men with the Rose Theater, and last year’s amazing Brundibár, that was produced in association with the Institute for Holocaust Education.

Many of our alliances begin with our belief in education and Opera for the Cure is no different. Komen Nebraska’s mission is education for breast cancer awareness. Their belief that the world can be without breast cancer resonates throughout the United States. Opera Omaha had an opportunity to be at Sunday’s Race for the Cure and saw almost 20 thousand people come together for a single cause. It was truly an amazing site. When Kyle Albertson, one of our Valmont Voices in Residence sang the National Anthem before the start of the race, the hush across the crowd was something no one will soon forget.

Ten years ago, Nancy Brinker, Founder and CEO of Susan G. Komen for the Cure decided that the marriage of music and message would result in a truly unique and powerful way to “get the word out” about their mission. That is how we feel about opera; the strength of the music has the ability to transform. Ms. Brinker went to Pamela Martin and charged her with creating this piece. Ms. Martin went to the survivors and asked for their stories. With these stories she approached ten different composers, from sacred choral composers to popular choral composers, and asked them to set these words to music.

What came out of this project is, Sing for the Cure: a proclamation of hope, the choral oratorio that Opera Omaha will be singing during the weekend of October 15. Sing for the Cure is a story of a journey of not just one person, but an entire community that comes together when faced with cancer. Weaving narrations from doctors, partners, children, and ultimately EVERYONE, the music ranges from swing to jazz to Broadway, and ultimately tells the tale of hope and courage.

Part of this entire project was Opera Omaha reaching out to local survivors looking for their stories. Out of this was born, a place to share, learn, and marvel at how someone can come out on the other side of cancer empowered, enlightened, and almost better than when they started. Take a moment to read these truly outstanding love letters to life.

While the journey that is Sing for the Cure is not an easy one, the pure joy at the end of the program celebrating life and what it can be is something you won’t soon forget. The Opera Omaha Chorus, The Omaha Symphony, the Valmont Voices in Residence, and the Salem Baptist Mass Choir will join their voices together on the stage at the Orpheum Theater and show the Omaha community what “One Voice” can accomplish.

I’ll close with these words from Sing for the Cure, “Do you hear it? ‘Sing!’ the voice is calling. ‘Sing avove the sighs of apathy! Sing a future without fear for our daughters! Sing! Herald the hope of healing with your voice. Sing! Celebrate our sisters with the song of life! Sing the dream into reality! Sing! Sing! Sing!’’

Brad Watkins,
Communications Director, Opera Omaha.

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