MOUNT VERNON — The timely message that bullying is not tolerated was the theme of a musical presentation Friday morning at the Knox County Memorial Theater. Elementary students from around the county came to the presentation sponsored by the Knox County Educational Service Center Gifted and Enrichment Program.
With the main characters telling the story being with the Columbus Opera On the Go, third graders at East Elementary School comprised the chorus which provided musical background in select musical numbers, including “The Troll Chorus,” “Dressup Chorus” and “The Finale.”
Elementary music teacher Sarah Reyes volunteered her time to teach the students the material so that they could take part in the opera. “There’s been a movement not just locally but nationally in teaching kids about bullying and how to deal with it,” said Reyes. “This fit in very nicely with the school curriculum.”
“Billy Goats Gruff” was part of the Youth Enrichment Series with East Elementary being the chosen school of focus this year. Age-appropriate programs are selected for each grade in which to participate. Program coordinator John Jurkowitz selects different county schools to be a selected focus each year. He told the News he often uses programs with Columbus Opera on the Go, and this topic of bullying being the program they were currently presenting was of timely essence.
“They themselves even said that hopefully this can help children of this age with the topic of bullying, and that it might give them the opportunity to discuss it,” said Jurkowitz. He stressed that children can also learn more about what an opera is, the different composers and what are the different elements of an opera. Following the presentation, students were given the chance to ask questions of the actors.
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