December 2016 Newsletter

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The past 3 months have just flown by! The students of the Opera and Performance Academy have had a very busy and successful Term 1. This wonderful group of 21 students, ranging from grade 8 to 12, came in to the program with a wide variety of singing and performing experience. It has been my pleasure to work with this group.

This term, students were introduced to a wide variety of components in the study of opera: classical vocal technique, drama skills, story and character development, dialogue writing, stage make up, movement, composing, rehearsal, audition prep, opera history and repertoire, and audience behaviour.

We have had many special guest instructors: Allen Desnoyers (composer/playwright), Ann Golden Fisher (singer/voice instructor), Colleen Maybin (Director of Education and Community Engagement), Ellie Siden (VO Education and Community Projects Coordinator), Carmen Garcia (VO head make up artist, and Theresa Tsang (VO stage manager).

Ann Golden Fisher
Allen Desnoyers
Ellie Siden and Colleen Maybin

We have also had some very special fieldtrips: a private tour of the O’Brian Centre, a performance of “Opera Tales” by VO’s Yulanda M. Faris Young Artists Program, a backstage tour and dress rehearsal of “Hansel and Gretel” at the Vancouver Playhouse and a recording recital by Wallis Giunta (Canadian mezzo-soprano) at CBC Vancouver.

Tour of the O’Brian Centre
In the pit at the Vancouver Playhouse before seeing the Dress Rehearsal for “Hansel and Gretel”
At CBC Vancouver for a recording recital of Wallis Giunta

img_0961This term, we were very fortunate to have the multi talented Eva Tavares – a “teaching artist” from Vancouver Opera. Eva worked with students for 2 months on a special project; to develop a show! It started out with the idea that we wanted to use what the students knew already and use what they were excited about doing. Eva worked with students to create the story and characters; then chose songs from pop, musical and opera (some songs requested by students) and rewrote the lyrics to fit the story that was being created. Add staging and choreography and you get…

“Exam Time: The Popera Musical”

Students will be performing on Dec. 7 at 7 pm at the Genesis Theatre.

“Evening Prayer”
writing dialogue
warming up for the physical demands of performing

And we are not done!

  • On Monday, December 12th at 7 pm, I look forward to meeting you all at our Opera and Performance Academy Meeting. This will be at Delta Secondary in the newly renovated music room.
  • On Tuesday, December 13, we will have a Workshop and Master Class, instructed by Leah Field (mezzo-soprano). Leah is in the Yulanda M. Faris Young Artists Program with Vancouver Opera and currently performing the role of “Mother” in VO’s Hansel and Gretel. That evening, some students will perform a selection of songs from our show at The Delta School Board Office.
  • On Thursday, Dececember 15, we take the show on the road! We will perform “Exam Time” at the O’Brian Centre for VO staff and special guests.

I hope you all have a safe and wonderful holiday and enjoy spending time with family and friends.

Julianna Kato
Teacher Coordinator
Delta Opera and Performance Academy


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ATTENTION: As a result of the current COVID19 pandemic the Delta School District has made the difficult decision to put all academies on hold for the 2020/2021 school year. We thank you for your patience as we have turned our attention to essential education and the navigation of a potential second wave this fall. This decision has not been made lightly as we put our focus on the priorities put forward by the Ministry of Education and attend to required curriculum. We are incredibly proud of our Academy Programs. They are a testament to our commitment of engaging learners through stimulating, relevant and inspiring educational experiences and we look forward to reinstating them for the 2021/2022 school year.

We are pleased to welcome…

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Delta’s Opera and Performance Academy is pleased to announce our new Teacher Coordinator:  Julianna Kato!

Julianna Kato quickly realized her love for music at a young age. Her first show was in “The Wizard of Oz” in grade 4. In addition to performing in her High School musicals, she joined the Jazz and Concert Choirs and Concert Band. At 16 she progressed on to private voice lessons where she was introduced to the “aria” and she knew she had to sing opera.

Julianna went on to UBC where she earned a Bachelor’s Degree in Music from UBC in 1999, majoring in Opera. The highlight of Julianna’s time at UBC was singing in Prague with the UBC Opera Ensemble. At UBC, Julianna found her other passion, Teaching, earning her Bachelor degrees in English and Education, in 2000.

Julianna was very fortunate to join Vancouver School Board’s Fine Arts Program at Nootka Elementary, in 2003. Both a classroom and music teacher, she brought her passion for opera to her students. In partnership with  Vancouver Opera, she engaged her students in the study of opera and creating their own operas. From brainstorming, to writing lyrics, composing melodies, singing, acting, designing costumes, painting backdrops, and deciding on lighting, her students did it all!

Besides teaching full time and starting a family, Julianna has stayed connected to local community theatre companies, performing with North Shore Light Opera Society, Theatre Under the Stars, Royal City Musical Theatre Company, and APPLAUSE! Musicals Society.

We are thrilled that Julianna has joined our team and cannot wait to see the creative works that are produced and explored under her leadership!

Welcome Mrs. Kato!