Pocket Opera plays Sembach Elementary

Sheri Byrd
Kaiserslautern American
and Jamie Lester

Sembach Elementary School

***image1***Students at Sembach Elementary School recently became opera stars for a day, through the guidance of John Reinhardt of the Pocket Opera Players.

Mr. Reinhardt, who visits both U.S. and Department of Defense Dependent Schools, spent two days working with kindergarten to third-grade classes, teaching them the story of the Mozart opera, “The Marriage of Figaro,” and general facts about the history of opera.

The two days culminated in two performances May 9 and 10 in the school gym for parents and guests, with all the children in costume and hands flying in the air to volunteer for the major parts.
Mr. Reinhardt began singing the opera, arranged as “Amadeus Revisited” in English for the students and condensed to less than one hour, as Figaro. As he came to other characters, he would call a volunteer student, or parent, from the floor to act the parts.

***image2***“It was inspiring to see our students transform into excited, engaged performers,” said Jamie Huey, SES music teacher. “Even those students who are normally shy could safely step outside of their comfort zone to participate in an art form they might not otherwise ever experience.”

“I like the music,” said second-grader Rhianna Reyes, chosen to play the page Cherubino in the May 9 performance. “It’s the first time I heard it.”

Ms. Huey said the children experienced the many aspects of opera first-hand from Mr. Reinhardt, also a retired Navy senior chief petty officer. 

“They learned about advertising, acting, costuming, sets, staging, voicing and life in the 1700s. They learned musical terminology, history and appreciation for an important art form.”