The Lyric Opera of Chicago and the Chicago Urban League have announced EmpowerYouth! Igniting Creativity through the Arts, a groundbreaking, multi-year partnership that is shaped to immerse African American youth in the creation of an original opera based on their own life experiences.
The program will be a collaboration by Lyric Unlimited, Lyric’s community engagement and education arm, and the Chicago Urban League’s Youth Development Center. The EmpowerYouth! program will be a multidisciplinary afterschool program that will culminate with a fully staged youth opera on May 31, 2018 at the Lyric Opera House.
The participants of the EmpowerYouth! were drawn from south side Chicago communities and began meeting on Oct. 4, 2017. Throughout the process the EmpowerYouth! students will also work alongside local artists to gain new artistic skills leading up to their final performance including Tanji Harper, choreographer, teacher, and Artistic Director of The Happiness Club, Melissa Foster, Senior Lecturer in Voice at Northwestern University and vocal coach for several Broadway shows in Chicago and nationally and visual artist, painter, and muralist Rubén Aguirre.
They will also work with rapper and lyricist Add-2, artist, educator, and producer Tony Santiago and Chicago singer-songwriter Daryn Alexus.