Opera Omaha Announces Poems Chosen For the 2023-24 “Poetry & Music Project”

By Afton Wooten

Opera Omaha has announced the selection of 13 poems for its 2023-24 “Poetry & Music Project.”

Original poems were written by Nebraska and Iowa students grades K through 12. The chosen poems were selected from a pool of 102 submissions from poets across 12 counties. Students were prompted with the theme for this year’s project, “Discovery,” as well as the sub-themes, “Finding Yourself, Exploring Relationships, Pinpointing Place, Uncovering Art, and Examining Growth.”

These poems will be set to music by composers Amber Vistein and Sidney Marquez Boquiren, both alumni of The American Opera Project Composers & the Voice program. This spring, poets will further develop their pieces in music workshops with the composers by collaborating in the behind-the-scenes artistic process. The finished pieces will be performed by Opera Omaha artists at a free live concert on April 6 at the Omaha Conservatory of Music.

The selected poems are “A Rainy Day… Time Flies…” by Marty Minor, “Friends” by Sylvia Kastl, “From Darkness to Light” by Stephany Orellana-Gomez, “I Am A Weird Kid” by Thaddeus Horner, “It Is What It Is” by Jackson Rios, “3-1=2” by Keelynn Reese, “Laika” by Ava Larson Gallegos, “My Home” by Annabelle Wilson, “Finding My Story” by Emelia Howell, “A Tale of Introversion” by Norah Purcell, “Don’t Grow Up” by Zehla Sobansky, “The Sun” by Evie Nelson, and “US” by River Sirek.

All 102 submitted poems will be included in the Poetry & Music Project book which will be distributed to the participants, teachers, and concert audience, and will be available online in April.