Opera Omaha & Nebraska Writers Collective Announce Winners of Poetry and Music Project Concert

By David Salazar

Opera Omaha and the Nebraska Writers Collective have announced that nine original poems written by local children will be set to music by composers Matt Browne and Frances Pollock.

The selected poems include “Earth She Is” by MaKayla Bemly, Grade 7, of Logan Fontenelle Middle School; “Untitled” by Shaye-Maleah Howe, Grade 12, of Beatrice High School; “A Broken Me” by Blakely Kenzy, Grade 8, of Elkhorn Middle School; “The Question” by Nathaniel Kielian, Grade 12, of Creighton Prep; “White Trash” by Josiah Lindstrom, Grade 11, of Beatrice High School; “Youth” by Zachary Scott, Grade 12, of Beatrice High School “The Cedar County Fair” by Breah Steffen, Grade 6, of Holy Trinity Elementary; “Showing Cattle” by Ava Stewart, Grade 6, of Holy Trinity Elementary; “Life in Nebraska” by Ava Stewart, Grade 6, of Holy Trinity Elementary; and “A Silent Land” by Emmalee Undereiner, Grade 11, of Beatrice High School.

This announcement is the culmination of a collaboration that started last fall when the two organizations invited students from grades K-12 from Nebraska and Iowa to submit works of poetry. From there, the composers picked poems that inspired them to set to music. They will workshop the poems with the students to further develop their respective pieces.

“We are thrilled to support our local young poets and connect them with working composers as they gain insight and hands-on experience in the process of bringing their art to the stage,” said Lauren Medici, Director of Engagement Programs for Opera Omaha, in a press release.

The new works will be showcased on Sunday, April 26, 2020 at Gallery 1516 in the annual Poetry and Music Project Concert. They will be presented by Opera Omaha’s Holland Community Opera Fellows.