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Music in the Classroom: Building community through the arts

Posted On Nov 19, 2019, 20:49 PM by Mary King
ME theater

Omaha Performing Arts is on a mission to build a vibrant future for the arts in Omaha on stage, in classrooms and in the community!

Last year alone, we connected more than 100,000 students and adults to the arts through a variety of programs including Musical Explorers, Nebraska High School Theater Academy (NHSTA), master classes and more. 

We talked with a few teachers and a NHSTA aluma who gave us the scoop on O-pa's education programs. Find out what they had to say about the impact these programs have on students both in the classroom and in the community. 

Musical Explorers

Musical Explorers

Nicole Quackenbush, First Grade Teacher at Harrison Elementary: "When we saw this opportunity, we were all on board. Watching [Musical Explorers] evolve with our students and throughout the years has been really exciting because they're learning new songs, new genres, new dance music, and going down to the Holland Center is really exciting for them. They really enjoy the concerts because they get these true, authentic experiences." 

Learn more about Musical Explorers >>>

Disney Musicals in Schools 

disney musicals

Amy Fitl., Fourth Grade Teacher at Edison Elementary:
"I have some amazing actors out there that are really stepping up to be a leader in the classroom because they are given the chance to shine and be a leader on stage. If Omaha Performing Arts had not brought this opportunity to Omaha, I don't know if these students would have had the opportunity to do theater." 

Learn more about Disney Musicals in Schools >>>

Master classes & Workshops

Ailey II

Emily Mokrycki, Theater Teacher at Burke High School: "Master classes serve as a really great opportunity for kids to get more individualized opportunities to sing at an audition workshop and work with Broadway professionals. Whether they are a beginning student or an extremely advanced student, they’re going to get something out of the course. It gives [them] confidence and it's something you can use in all aspects of life.”

Learn more about our Master classes & Workshops >>>

Jazz Academy 

Jazz Academy

Shawn Bell, Jazz Academy Teaching Artist:
“Introducing these students to different styles, and more importantly, to the concept of improvisation at this early age helps them feel like these elements are a natural part of music-making. This translates to their playing and listening habits in high school and beyond.”

Learn more about Jazz Academy >>> 


Nebraska High School Theater Academy 


Lauren Johnson, NHSTA alumna: "My favorite part about participating in NHSTA was being surrounded by so many other kids across the state who have the same passion and the same drive that I do was really inspiring. What I've gained the most is a sense of professionalism. That was something that I took with me to New York from Nebraska that some of the other kids may not have experienced. It's a once-in-a-life time opportunity for a lot of people and without the donors and supporters that we have at O-pa, there would be no way that we would could have these experiences." 

Learn more about Nebraska High School Theater Academy >>>

Want to make a difference? Connect more children to the arts >>>