ROKCincy Creates Opera Success Stories

Published Date: May 11, 2018

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The Dater Foundation began making grants to ROKCincy (Roundabout Opera Cincinnati) in the organization's infancy in 2014.  ROKCincy introduces young people to opera by presenting free programs in school assemblies and community centers.  This year's Dater grant was increased to $20,000.  Executive Director Kelly Holterhoff sent these words of appreciation to the Foundation --

"Because of the additional funds we received from the Dater Foundation to extend our season and offer more performances, we were about to go out to the Warren County Learning Center that serves folks with developmental disabilities..

"When we walked in, one of the young people said with great sincerity, "I hate opera, I don't want to go." We were all a little shocked, but one performer in particular was very uncomfortable. She wanted to do a good job, but was nervous about the vocal outbursts and activity the teachers told us we should expect from their audience. 

"After a few outbursts, the young people settled in and were completely engaged with the performance. Afterwards, the Director said she had never seen the class sit so quietly for so long. They asked wonderful questions after the performance and one young man joyfully sang one of the arias - full volume - all the way back to his classroom.  

"As we packed up the sets and costumes, the performer who began the day feeling so uncomfortable said to me, 'That was the most worthwhile performance I've ever done.'

"I am so grateful to the Dater Foundation for giving us the ability to have these moments. They will shape our lives forever." 

This summary of a 2016-17 grant to ROKCincy will appear in the Foundation’s soon-to-be-published annual report.  It describes the organization and its programs –

ROKCincy brings the thrill of live performance to schools and community centers all over the Greater Cincinnati area as a free service. ROKCincy’s mission is to offer young people a foundation to understand and appreciate performing arts as audience members while offering local artists practical experience. A Dater grant supported ROKCincy’s tour of an original, interactive opera, “Trip Jones and the Case of the Missing Music.” The colorful production engaged audiences while the novelty of operatic arias inspired curiosity. After performances, audiences connected with the musicians by asking questions and talking about the experience. The performers offered encores and glimpses into how they have honed their talents through practice and passion for this very special art form. The program was seen by over 7,500 young people and families.

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