Opera Parallèle’s Harriet’s Spirit

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Music by Marcus Shelby, libretto by Roma Olvera, conducted by Lucik Aprahamian

DATES: January 18 at 6 p.m.; January 20 at 1 p.m. and 4 p.m.

LOCATION: Buriel Clay Theater at the African American Art & Culture Complex
762 Fulton Street, San Francisco

CAST: Tiffany Austin as Harriet Tubman; Christabel Nunoo as Modesty; with Rooftop Alternative School’s 8th Grader Students

Each year, Opera Parallèle partners with school students to create and perform an original opera during an intensive eight-week residency. This year’s world premiere production features an original score by Bay Area jazz great Marcus Shelby and a libretto by Roma Olvera based on the story of a middle school girl who triumphs over the challenges of adolescence with Civil War-era legend Harriet Tubman as her role model and spirit guide. Students of Rooftop Alternative School in San Francisco will share the stage with professional singers and Jazz Ensemble in creating the production. OP’s Hands-On-Opera production annually draws capacity crowds.

For tickets and information about Opera Parallèle’s Harriet’s Spirit, visit: https://operaparallele.org/harriets-spirit/

About Opera Parallele’s Harriet’s Spirit

Harriet’s Spirit is set in two different worlds — on the Combahee River during the Civil War and in a present day middle school. When asked about the opera’s themes, Marcus responded that Harriet’s Spirit is about family and friends, and the strength that they give you in challenging times. Harriet Tubman, first written in 2008 for Shelby’s original secular oratorio for 15 piece jazz orchestra and vocal ensemble, moves into the world of contemporary opera with “Harriet’s Spirit.”

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HARRIET’S SPIRIT CALENDAR DATES:

  • Family Art Night: Harriet’s Spirit with Marcus Shelby – Wednesday, November 1, 5:30pm-7:30pm, Burnett MPR. Families will create their own artwork inspired by Harriet’s Spirit and enjoy an evening of artistic call and response with composer/bassist Marcus Shelby and teaching artist Andi Wong.
  • “Harriet’s Spirit” Open Rehearsal Arts Night with Opera Parallèle – Thursday, November 16, 5pm-7pm, Mayeda Gym. Get an inside look at Opera Parallèle’s Harriet’s Spirit with composer Marcus Shelby, librettist Roma Olvera, conductor Lucik Aprahamian, director Erin Neff and Rooftop’s eighth grade student performers.
  • Open Dress Rehearsal @ the Mayeda Campus – Full Run Thru w Principals – Mon, 8 January, 9:44am-10:34am; Wed, 10 January, 9:44am-10:34am; Fri, 12 January, 9:44am-10:34am. In order to accommodate more classes, we have asked Opera Parallèle for permission to open up these three additional dates to small supportive audiences (approx. 30-40).
  • Final Dress Rehearsal: Harriet’s Spirit – Wednesday, January 17, 2018; 11:00-11:45am at the Buriel Clay Theater, African American Art & Culture Center. Field Trip for Elementary (grades K+) – 200 seat capacity
  • Opera Parallele’s Harriet’s Spirit (World Premiere) – Thursday, January 18, 6pm & Saturday, January 20, 1pm & 4pm; Community performances at the Buriel Clay Theater, African American Art & Culture Center.

HARRIET’S SPIRIT PRE-ENGAGEMENT ACTIVITIES

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Trim A Tree 2017: North Star Ornaments

Rooftop is invited to decorate one of the trees at Davies Symphony Hall during the holidays. Each student at Rooftop, grades K-8, makes an ornament that will be hung on the Rooftop tree. This year’s ornament is inspired by the North Star quilt block. This ornament-making activity is supported by Art Parent Coordinators Brooke Kerpelman, Whitney Couch and Eryn Kurin.

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Harriet’s Spirit Story Quilt Project 

Rooftop classrooms will have the opportunity to create art in support of the production design for Harriet’s Spirit. Rooftop classrooms can learn more about Harriet’s Spirit and help to create three fabric quilts, inspired by the art of quilt maker Harriet Powers (1937-1910), which are integral to the production design of Harriet’s Spirit. These story quilts share family stories recorded by Rooftop families during the November 1st Family Art Night. The Story quilt pre-engagement activities will be supported by teaching artists Andi Wong and Mary Ann Cruz at The Studios at Burnett & Mayeda.

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Harriet’s Spirit Daguerreotype Portraits

The production design of Harriet’s Spirit is also influenced by a newly discovered daguerreotype portrait of Harriet Tubman, found in a souvenir album in 2016. The Metropolitan Museum of Art noted that “…the medium’s success in America was built upon the patronage of the average worker who desired a simple likeness to keep for himself, or more likely, to send to a loved one as the era’s most enduring pledge of friendship. Among the many momentous social transformations generated by photography’s invention was the possibility of self-representation by a large variety of groups previously excluded from official portraiture.” Advances in the art of digital photography make it a snap to add your own selfie to the Rooftop family photo album of 2017-2018.

Harriet’s Spirit for Hamilton Families

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After the war Harriet Tubman returned to her home in Auburn, New York, and began what was to be her life-long work of caring for aged and indigent African Americans when she purchased 25 acres of land at auction for $1450 in 1896. In 2016, Rooftop began filling the rainbow-colored shelves of the Blake Mini Library at Hamilton Families in San Francisco as a recipient of a gift from youth philanthropist Blake Ansari who resides in Brooklyn, New York. Our 3rd annual Blake Mini Library Book Drive kicks off on the Martin Luther King, Jr. Day of Service, when students of all ages are invited to help by writing notes of encouragement and donating a new or newly read children’s book to the children at Hamilton Families in the Tenderloin. Harriet’s Spirit is sharing our love of books about #MonumentalWomen with a special selection of children’s books such as Nikki Grimes & Michele Wood’s “Chasing Freedom: The Life Journeys of Harriet Tubman and Susan B. Anthony (Inspired by Historical Facts).”

20170816HarrietSpiritFANIMG_8525.jpg“I Will Not Stand Still” 

Classes can take a ten-minute hike to Kite Hill from Burnett & Tank Hill from Mayeda and explore the natural surrounds of Twin Peaks and contemplate the benefits of outdoor experiences.  In September of 2017, Atlanta artist Mashona Council became the first person to complete the 125-mile Freedom Walk across the Tubman byway alone. “To come across that line, it really was this bringing (Tubman’s) spirit with me. And we know that when she crossed there was no one here to welcome her.” The trek helped Council to gain a better perspective of Harriet Tubman’s considerable accomplishments, whether leading others to freedom on the Underground Railroad or planning the Combahee River Raid of 1863. Harriet Tubman has the unique distinction of being the only woman to have played a decisive role in planning and carrying out a military operation during the Civil War. Today, Bay Area organizations such as Girl Trek and Outdoor Afro are heading outside to reflect on Harriet Tubman’s relationship with the land and learning more about the benefits of active engagement with the natural world.

MSJO Harriet Tubman 2008

Harriet Tubman, Marcus Shelby’s musical oratorio, was the central work of Rooftop’s “Art Is Jazz” study in 2007-2008. The Marcus Shelby Jazz Orchestra, featuring vocalist Faye Carole, performed for students at the Swedish American Hall on February 1, 2008.Marcus Shelby & Harriet Tubman at Rooftop

Rooftop School’s “Art Is… Jazz” (2007-2008) website  http://artsed4all.org/ArtIsJazz/Home.html

Marcus Shelby’s website https://www.marcusshelby.com

The Google Cultural Institute: SFJAZZ: Sounds of Freedom A celebration of the spirit of resistance in African American music.

Marcus speaks about his jazz oratorio “Harriet Tubman” for SFJAZZ https://youtu.be/lWZ3O6Ffub4

At The Center ~ Marcus Shelby’s ‘Harriet Tubman & The Blues’ https://youtu.be/lWZ3O6Ffub4

KQED Arts: Bassist Marcus Shelby Finds Freedom’s Message in the Music https://ww2.kqed.org/arts/2014/04/24/bassist-marcus-shelby-finding-freedoms-message-in-the-music/

SFGate: What I Do: Marcus Shelby, Jazz Musician/Educator (2010) http://www.sfgate.com/entertainment/article/Marcus-Shelby-mixes-music-politics-history-3261035.php

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Did you know that Rooftop School is the source of inspiration for TWO musical compositions written by Marcus Shelby?

 

In 2008, Marcus wrote Peaceable Kingdom – a tone poem for 15-piece jazz orchestra and speaker, based on the 1847 painting by Edward Hicks. This work, which premiered at the De Young Museum on January 18, 2008. was an artistic call and response inspired by his time working with the students at Rooftop School. In turn, two Burnett murals were created during Rooftop’s 2007-2008 study of Marcus’ musical composition, Harriet Tubman.

The Peaceable Kingdom garden wall mural, created by Ms. Margot’s 4th grade class, was inspired by Harriet’s role as a conductor for The Underground Railroad. In Our Peaceable Kingdom, the entrance mural, created by Ms. Woo’s 4th class, features student poems about peaceThe now familiar Rooftop logo was designed by 4th graders Bobby McCollough, who designed the lettering, and Aida Irving, who drew the Raven and The Dove.

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Family Art Night: Harriet’s Spirit with Marcus Shelby

The community at Rooftop Alternative PreK-8 School will enjoy an evening of artistic call and response with composer Marcus Shelby and teaching artist Andi Wong on Wednesday, November 1, 2017.

At this very special Family Art Night, Marcus will discuss his newest musical composition: a brand new opera written for Rooftop School. Opera Parallèle’s Harriet’s Spirit tells the story of a middle school girl who triumphs over the challenges of adolescence with Civil War-era legend Harriet Tubman as her role model and spirit guide. Marcus will also introduce families to the opera’s musical themes. Families will work together create their own family story quilt artwork, art which will be incorporated into the opera’s production design.

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FAMILY ART NIGHTS & MAYEDA MEDIA NIGHTS were established to provide Rooftop students and their families with additional opportunities to further their learning, share educational resources, and build community through the arts.

Kindergarten Family Art Night 2017: “Listen to The Water”

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On Thursday, October 5, 2017 former Rooftop Kindergarten teacher Mary Ann Cruz and Kindergarten parent Laura Jean Ruppert sailed into the Burnett MPR, to lead Kindergarten Family Art Night, an art & music workshop for families at Rooftop School.

In addition to dancing the Lobster Quadrille and singing water songs, families made their own ocean-inspired shadow puppets. Ms. Cruz and Ms. Ruppert also spoke about their on-going work  exploring the theme of water with the kindergarteners in Ms. Lampear, Mr. Lane and Mr. Mayhew’s classrooms  This classroom introduction to opera was conceived as pre-engagement for this Fall’s work of art for study, Harriet’s Spirit, a children’s opera composed by Marcus Shelby, with a libretto written by Roma Olvera, for Opera Parallèle.

kinder-art-night-songs program_Page_1Download a copy of the kinder-art-night-songs

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To play is to engage. When we play, we pick up objects, ideas, or themes and turn them upside down, experiment with them, often arriving at something inspiring and amazing; yet we don’t play for the outcome, but for its own sake. For humans and some animals, play is a vital part of development. Play allows children to use their creativity while developing their imagination, dexterity and physical, cognitive, and emotional strength. Adults also play to break from conventions, to experiment, to shift from normality into a rich world of imagination or to push themselves in new ways.

Play in children can be generally divided into four broad types based on the developmental purposes each serves. These are: physical play, play with objects, symbolic play, pretence and socio-dramatic play, and games with rules. Beyond participating in children’s play, adults can support it by creating a supportive environment, providing a range of opportunities for play and thoughtfully providing structures that support play. 

— from the Lego Learning Institute’s “The Future of Play: Defining the role and value of play in the 21st Century (2016).

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Engaging play experiences offer a set of gifts, innate rewarding experiences that encourage individuals to continue their engagement. These are reflection and integration of what we have learned, the pleasure of Flow, self-expression, positive emotions, new ways of seeing, mastery, innovation, connecting with and learning from others, and lastly self-realisation.

— from the Lego Learning Institute’s “The Future of Play: Defining the role and value of play in the 21st Century (2016).

Take the Blake Mini Library #MannequinChallenge

The Mannequin Challenge is a new trend in internet video where a group of people enact a single moment in time, remaining frozen in place while a camera pans around them and music plays.

This video tapping into the popular social media meme was created by the staff members of the Library of Congress in Washington, D.C. Led by the 14th Librarian of Congress Carla Hayden, the participants can be seen using a variety of reading material — magazines, books and phones and digital tablets — in the Main Reading Room of the Library of Congress, the largest library in the world, with millions of books, recordings, photographs, newspapers, maps and manuscripts in its collections.

“Books can be mirrors, and they can be windows.”

Carla Hayden, the first woman and the first African American to serve as the Librarian of Congress, holds that her passion for reading came from her favorite childhood book, “Bright April,” a 1946 children’s story book written and illustrated by Marguerite de Angeli, who later won the Newbery Medal for excellence in American children’s literature. The Nation’s Librarian knows that children need to see themselves reflected in the books that they read. “Books can be mirrors, and they can be windows,” says Hayden.

Rooftop Students Take the Blake Mini Library #MannequinChallenge

bml-a-whole-new-worldThe Library of Congress Mannequin Challenge and Emerging Traditions traces the historical antecedents of the Mannequin Challenge back to the advent of photography and the tableaux craze of the late 19th and early 20th centuries. The Library of Congress blog entry on the social media trend also notes that “A common theme seems to be an expression of group identity, of clubs, classes, groups of friends, athletic teams, organizations, musical groups, and others: “this is who we are” summed up in a short, shareable video.”

Rooftop fourth graders had a whole lot of fun creating their own Mannequin Challenge videos. These young librarians-in-training want to open up a whole new world of reading for all children to enjoy free access to books — 24/7.

Won’t you take the Blake Mini Library #MannequinChallenge too?

Valentine’s Day 2017 Blake Mini Library Book Drive

bml-hamilton-2016Give the gift of reading to a child in need.

On Valentine’s Day Blake Mini Library donates books to children and youth living in domestic violence, homeless, foster care and runaway youth shelters. The students at Rooftop Alternative PreK-8 School are currently joining Blake Ansari’s efforts to bring the joy of reading to homeless children. Students are helping to fill the rainbow-colored shelves of the Blake Mini Library at Hamilton Families in San Francisco.

Book donations will be received by The Studios at Rooftop School’s Burnett & Mayeda Campuses, starting from MLK, Jr. Day of Service through Valentine’s Day, when the books will be delivered to Hamilton Families in the Tenderloin.

Please consider donating your new and recently new books (no cloth books, please) to children from birth to age 21.

Remember that literacy plays an important role for children and families. Especially in times of crisis, it can provide a bridge for individuals to find refuge in stories of others’ experiences (MacGillivray, 2010b). — “Supporting the Literacy Development of Children Living in Homeless Shelters”  http://digitalcommons.chapman.edu/education_articles/3/

 

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Include a Note of Encouragement

With the 2016 Valentine’s Day Blake Mini Library book drive, Rooftop School invited book donors to include a Note of Encouragement, a special surprise message hidden inside the book to be discovered by a future reader. The reading and writing of these notes helped create a special bond between two people who might never ever meet — the donor and the recipient. The Notes of Encouragement added an element of surprise and delight, while conveying positive thoughts of love, hope and gratitude.

“There’s a Whole New World in Your Book”

As a child who loves to read, Blake Ansari wanted to make sure that the homeless children had access to books. At the age of six, Blake began his youth philanthropy effort by donating 600 books to the PATH emergency family shelter in the Bronx in 2014.

On Valentine’s Day 2015, seven-year old Blake donated over 5,000 books along with a four ft. tall rainbow colored Blake Mini Library to children who are homeless living at Women In Need Glenwood Shelter in Brooklyn, New York. In 2016, Hamilton Families, San Francisco and Riverside Church Food Pantry, New York City were recipients of Blake Mini Library. This year, Leake & Watts Mother & Child Foster Care is the 2017 recipient of a Blake Mini LIbrary.

Blake’s mother, Dr. Starita Boyce Ansari, supports her son’s efforts to help underprivileged youth. Believing in the power of youth philanthrophy, Dr. Ansari offers us the model of giving circles, which meld responsiveness and altruism with community engagement, nurturing our students’ humanity. “Giving circles have shown the highest potential. A giving circle nurtures students appreciation and understanding of others’ needs, enabling them to come together to support charitable organizations or community initiatives for a set period of time. Their members become more aware of and engaged in the causes they fund, and learn how to make our world better, not just for them, but for all.”

To quote Blake: “When you listen to the community, learn from the community, and help the community, you connect to your best self.”

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A Clean Swell Schoolyard Cleanup

2016 California Coastal Cleanup Day

Every year, on the third Saturday in September, people join together at sites all over California to take part in the State’s largest volunteer event, California Coastal Cleanup Day. In 2015, more than 68,000 volunteers removed nearly 1,143,000 pounds of trash and recyclables from California’s beaches, lakes, and waterways. Families, friends, coworkers, scout troops, school groups, service clubs, and individuals come together to celebrate and share their appreciation of California’s fabulous coast and waterways. The event is part of the International Coastal Cleanup, organized by the Ocean Conservancy, which is the largest volunteer event on the planet!

Students have a way to participate in Coastal Cleanup Day even if they can not get out to a beach or local waterway. Schools can organize a Schoolyard Cleanup on the Friday prior to the weekend event and join in the efforts to protect our coast and ocean, no matter where their schools are located!
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Rooftop Alternaive PreK-8 School is located at the geographic center of San Francisco.

Schoolyard Cleanup at Rooftop’s Burnett Campus

It was a week of connecting the dots, as Rooftop School celebrated Dot Day on Tuesday, September 14 and wrapped up the week with an effort of caring for The Pale Blue Dot.” 

On Friday, September 16, 2016, the students at Rooftop’s Burnett Campus participated in a Schoolyard Cleanup. The students worked in teams to collect data about the trash that they found on the playground and documented their findings with digital cameras and video. Ms. Woo and Ms. Kennedy’s fourth graders collectively gathered 5.05.011 lbs. of trash from the schoolyard. Next, the students will assess the challenges and propose their own solutions for how they might help their school site to stay clean.

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Just like water, trash can move through a watershed, down streets, through storm drains, creeks and rivers, and eventually out to a lake or the ocean. Preventing and removing litter in school yards and neighborhoods is stopping marine debris before it happens is a very important action that students can take to protect our coast and ocean and the creatures that depend on a healthy ecosystem to survive.

Learn more about participating in California Coastal Cleanup Day at http://www.coastal.ca.gov/publiced/schoolyard/

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MAKE YOUR MARK! International Dot Day @ Rooftop School

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September 15th marks the anniversary of the publication of best-selling author/illustrator Peter H. Reynolds’ The Dot, a “story book for all ages.”

Author Peter Reynolds told School Library Journal. “I pinch myself, thinking that four decades ago I was being told to stop drawing in my classes and pay attention, and here we are in 2016 with a school sanctioned day to celebrate creativity.”

The Dot more than anything celebrates the power of creative teaching,” Reynolds explains. “Despite the test-centric world we live in, creative teachers know how to find those aha moments — much the same way that my 7th grade math teacher Mr. Matson ‘connected the dots’ between math and art, which changed my life.” To honor that moment, Reynolds dedicated The Dot to Mr. Matson.

Rooftop School is joining the The Dot Club fun & inviting you to read-alongdraw-along, and even sing-along!

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To get things started, Rooftop librarian Tamra Marshall will be reading THE DOT with all K-2 classes.

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#DOTDAY LIVESTREAM

On Tuesday, September 13 at 10am, we’re connecting the dots via Skype and Discovery Education in the Burnett MPR. #CelebrateWithDE 

Author Peter H. Reynolds travels to the place where Dot Day began with Dot Day founder Terry Shay, a teacher at North Tama School in Traer, Iowa. Reynolds, Shay, and the students of North Tama will come together to celebrate creativity, courage, and collaboration on the 7th Annual International Dot Day. http://www.discoveryeducation.com/Events/monthly-themes/dot-day-2016.cfm 

#ArtIsAtTheCenter: DOT CENTRAL

Be sure to sign your work and share your dot art on International #DotDay – Thursday, September 15, 2016! Let’s fill “Dot Central” – aka the Burnett MPR – with some fresh art!

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THE PALE BLUE DOT & COASTAL CLEANUP DAY

Then, help us to take care of the most important dot of all — “The Pale Blue” Dot! In celebration of Coastal Cleanup Day 2016, Rooftop School will hold a Schoolyard Cleanup on Friday, September 16.

Pale Blue Dot from ORDER Productions on Vimeo.

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The trash gathered at school will be weighed and our information will be entered into the official International Coastal Cleanup Day database.

WHAT IS COASTAL CLEANUP DAY?

Every year, on the third Saturday in September, people join together at sites all over California to take part in the State’s largest volunteer event, California Coastal Cleanup Day. In 2015, more than 68,000 volunteers removed nearly 1,143,000 pounds of trash and recyclables from California’s beaches, lakes, and waterways.

Families, friends, coworkers, scout troops, school groups, service clubs, and individuals come together to celebrate and share their appreciation of California’s fabulous coast and waterways. The event is part of the International Coastal Cleanup, organized by the Ocean Conservancy, which is the largest volunteer event on the planet!

California Coastal Cleanup Day 2016 is Saturday, September 17, 2016