Our Education Program connects with the community via our Teaching Artist (TA) and our Youth Night at the Opera. In a typical year, the TA visits local classrooms and presents supplementary curriculum to help students learn about Opera. In addition, the TA provides free ‘mini’ performances as part of these presentations to best demonstrate the unique qualities of opera singing and to further educate students on some of the most famous pieces of music. These same students are then invited to attend our Youth Night at the Opera, where they will experience a full El Paso Opera production for free! Due to the demographics and socioeconomic status of many of El Paso’s neighborhoods, many of these students would not otherwise have the opportunity to attend professional artistic performances.
Due to current health restrictions these programs have been adapted for the current season due to COVID-19 restrictions. With all school districts including some component of virtual learning, more than ever teachers will need assistance and support. Our Teaching Artist will provide these services remotely while ensuring support and guidance when needed. This season, in lieu of our Youth Night at the Opera our Education Program will include access to our streamed performance of Bon Appétit! Our Teaching Artist will support classroom teachers with pre- and post-lessons to reinforce the main tenets of opera performance while calling back to details of the show. Bon Appetit! is a great introduction to opera for our students due to its accessibility and universal theme of food.
Our Education program is offered to more than just traditional school-based education. This program is offered and available to home-school groups, scout troops, youth groups and other community youth organizations with an interest in the arts. It is another way in which El Paso Opera connects with the community!
This season our Teaching Artist is Megan McQueen. Megan began her career in education in 2004, when Las Cruces’ Alma d’Arte Charter High School hired her to integrate the arts into various mainstream curriculum via Americorps. She fused the knowledge of music she acquired while earning a Bachelor of Music degree in vocal performance from New Mexico State University and the experience she gained studying theatre and working for Ephrata Playhouse in the Park in Pennsylvania and Pioneer Valley Summer Theatre in Massachusetts while teaching high school for 9 years. During that time, she frequently produced and performed in musicals and completed a Master of Education degree from NMSU. She taught well over a thousand students during five years with the NMSU theatre department. Her wide-ranging experiences in music, theatre, and opera include performing at the Vatican in Rome, running a box office for 11 shows in 10 weeks during one Massachusetts’ summer, stage managing Rigoletto, and co-founding Scaffolding Theatre Company. She has performed leading roles in over 20 shows, including Cherubino in The Marriage of Figaro for Doña Ana Lyric Opera, Miss Hannigan in Annie for Las Cruces Community Theatre, and most recently Donna Sheridan in Mamma Mia for the UTEP Dinner Theatre. She has been teaching online for over two years, where she now creates various curricula and produces musicals virtually. She specializes in offering learners meaningful opportunities to interact with works of art, literature, or history and respond to them creatively. She loves helping students who didn’t realize they were artists embrace their unique creativity.