Opera coming to Hale County

Published 12:00 am Saturday, January 8, 2005

Thursday, students in Hale County will be treated to something they have probably never seen before. On that day Alabama Operaworks will be in town to present unique and exciting shows to area students.

The program will be a part of several area helper organizations working together to expose Hale County students to things they do not get a chance to see on a regular basis.

Barbara Smith, who is well known for her volunteer efforts in area schools, said the program was geared toward opening student’s eyes to artistic programs.

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“This is a part of the Children’s Policy Council,” Smith said. “What we try to do is bring in activities that are useful to school children or daycare centers or wherever we can find children.”

Smith said two organizations in particular kicked in to provide the funding needed to bring the program in.

“It is a funded item through the Friends of Hale County and the Juvenile Children’s Committee,” Smith said “That is a volunteer committee here in Hale County.”

Opera is not an everyday occurrence in Hale County. Smith said that was one of the major selling points to get the program to Greensboro.

“We were trying to think of some activities that would be unusual and would be the kind of things we would want our children to see,” Smith said. “A friend in Birmingham said they were a unique presentation so we just set out and tried to get them.”

The ultimate goal is to spark an interest in the arts. Rural Alabama schools are fairly limited in some of the programs they can expose students too. Smith said it was up to them to get new experiences to the children.

“We are always trying to expose our children to different cultural experiences,” Smith said. We feel it is very helpful for them down the road.”

There are going to be two presentations. One is going to be at 9:15 a.m. at Greensboro High School. Students from Greensboro East, Sunshine and Greensboro West will view the show there. The second show will take place at 11 a.m. at Hale County High School. Students from Moundville Elementary and Akron Elementary will view the presentation there.

Alabama Operaworks is an independent, regional opera company out of Birmingham. They are not affiliated with any other opera companies around.

The group is in their sixth year of operation and has an office in the newly renovated Metropolitan Arts Council building in the historic Virginia Samford Theatre.

The group uses the training and talents of local and regional artists to produce two major productions each season.

In addition, they take their show on the road as part of the educational outreach program “What’s So Grand About Opera?” This program began around inner city schools in Birmingham, but the company has been able to expand their shows.