Yesterday would have been the 110th birthday of Theodore Seuss Geisel, better known as Dr. Seuss. In honor of his birthday, schools all over the country have instituted Read Across America Day, where all forms of reading (silent, aloud, etc.) are promoted and encouraged. What a great day.
At the elementary school where my mom works in the front office, Read Across America Day involves volunteers visiting different classrooms and spending 20 minutes reading aloud to the students. T (who works in the same school district as my mom) and I almost always
get suckered into volunteer to read to a few classes, and this year it was my turn.
Naturally, being an oper(ett)a singer, my book of choice was a gem called The Fabulous Feud of Gilbert and Sullivan, by Jonah Winter and Richard Egielski.
I actually received this book as a Christmas present from my mom, who uncovered it on a bargain books table at Office Max and just knew it would be the perfect gift for me. She was right, as usual.
Today, roughly 60 elementary school kids learned a little bit more about the world of opera from this book, and were surprised to find that they actually enjoyed it. Plus, when I finished reading for each class, I sang a verse from “The sun whose rays are all ablaze,” an aria from The Mikado (which I’m currently in the process of auditioning for, coincidentally). The kids loved it! Most of them had never heard opera before, but they were able to put aside whatever judgments they might have had about it as a musical genre, and all three classes were fantastic and enthusiastic audiences. If only some adults could do and be the same!