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‘Big Arts Meet Small Towns’ As Clarion Area Students Attend Pittsburgh Opera

Tuesday, November 8, 2022 @ 12:11 AM

Posted by Ron Wilshire

Figaro a(1)CLARION, Pa. (EYT) – It’s “Big Arts Meet Small Towns” when 44 students from Clarion Area Middle School and High School with faculty representatives will board an early-morning bus bound for Pittsburgh’s Cultural District on Thursday, November 10.

(Pictured above: Performing Artists from the Pittsburgh Opera’s “The Marriage of Figaro.”)

The students and faculty representatives Sarah Dawson and Sarah Matson and others will be attending a special matinee and educational program of Pittsburgh’s Opera’s “The Marriage of Figaro.”

The curtain goes up at 10:15 a.m.

“We’re incredibly excited for our kids to be involved in this opportunity,” said Joe Carrico, Superintendent of Clarion Area Schools.

“We believe the arts are crucial to education, to our communities, and our students. They’ll now be immersed in the arts on a scale that many of them would not otherwise have access to, due to the physical distance between our community and professional arts organizations like the Pittsburgh Opera.

“I am grateful for the work that Sarah Matson, choral faculty, and Sarah Dawson, band/instruments faculty, have invested to make this a truly unique and unforgettable educational experience for our students.”

Pittsburgh Opera’s education program has a formal, multi-pronged teaching element. All participating schools take part in a series of pre-performance educational webinars that help them prepare students for the performance they’ll experience.

This educational program from the Pittsburgh Opera is an exceptional opportunity for regional students to learn about the opera in their classrooms before attending, and by the time they reach there, the enthusiasm is like nothing else. This is also an opportunity for Pittsburgh Opera’s Resident Artists, typically covering leads, to take on key roles themselves. So, there is a unique educational opportunity on both sides of the stage, for students and performers alike.

Clarion Area students are being sponsored and hosted by Clarion native, Pam Selker Rak, President of CommuniTech, LLC, and Robert W. Rak, Vice President of Finance and Administration at Pittsburgh Opera.

“As a Clarion native, it was important to me that students from my hometown be able to experience this unique opportunity,” said Pam Rak. “Bob and I decided to sponsor students from both of our respective hometowns, Clarion, and McKees Rocks, to help make the connection between big arts and smaller communities.

“For my part, I reached out to Braxton White, Clarion Area School Board member, and he was instrumental in helping us connect all the dots. We’re thrilled by the enthusiasm that both communities have shown in participating in this special student performance.”

The offer is also open to other Clarion County School Districts.

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