An Organization teaches a Musical Message

Sheron Page, Staff Writer

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The Guild Opera Company is a 66-year-old nonprofit organization that has introduced over 4 million children to the performing arts through opera.

The organization was founded in 1949 by William Hartshorn, who was  the music  supervisor for the  Los Angeles Unified School District. He began the arts program with the intention of reaching out to children starting at pre-K and up, teaching them the benefits of music and how opera is a significant introduction to all types of music.

Opera musicals and storytelling  send out a relatable and valuable message and sound to the soul, said Fran Benedict, a member of the California Music Educators Hall of Fame. The organization honored her for lifetime achievement in music education.  Scientific studies indicate that opera music enables the brain to become more alert and focused. All music, Benedict said, and opera in particular, helps listeners to understand human emotions.  

“The reason for the program is to bring magic to children through opera music, telling a story that can be recreated through sound, movements and dictation,” said Benedict. “Our goal is to teach young children of all ethnicities about the love for music and the enhancing benefits of music passion and emotion.”  

The Opera Guild Company Arts Education for Children has partnered with many artists and sponsors who strongly support the nonprofit organization and its benefits. The multiple sponsors consist of Glendale Arts and Council Mission, LA County Arts Commission, Pasadena Community Foundation and many more.

The Guild Opera Company Arts education has expanded 12 times in size since it first began. A wide range of ethnicities, cultures, age groups and schools band together. As the program travels to multiple schools in the community it has presented opera themed musicals including “Estrella,” “Wade In The Water,” “Little Red Riding Hood,” “Alice In Wonderland” and many more. Each show consists up to 16 professional singers from all over the world.

After each performances there is a teaching workshop offered to the children. The professional singers along with creative director Gabriel Reoyo Pazos, teach and guide the students and children into their performances. “Connections are strengthen through repetition,” said Pazos. “We teach the children the method of easy memorization.”

“My job is to seek after professional singers and make them reach their full potential by allowing them to understand their audiences through ages and sound,” Pazos said. “Music has no age limit. I am an artist that is constantly evolving with  sound and feelings around me through music and I want people to feel the same way.”

The Guild Opera is currently searching for volunteers to assist the administrative and production staff. For information, call (323) 463-6593.

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An Organization teaches a Musical Message