Wednesday, 9 February 2011

Mary Ruth McGinn: Opera in action becomes Learning through opera: LOVA

One of the recurring problems of inspirational leadership is that once the driving force leaves, the project falls apart. So, it’s a tribute to Mary Ruth McGinn that the project which she established in Madrid, Spain, during her stay from 2006 to 2007 continues and is, apparently, thriving.
At the end of this month the International Institute in Madrid will host an event to showcase the continued work of primary schools, mainly in the state sector, who have made good use of the ideas and philosophy of Opera in Action to raise achievement in their students.
Mary Ruth received training in using opera to motivate children through the Creating Original Opera programme run by the Metropolitan Opera Guild in New York:
Creating Original Opera
The Creating Original Opera Teacher Training Program provides classroom, music and arts teachers with the necessary skills, information and methodologies to guide their students through the Creating Original Opera process. As a result of this program, participating teachers develop an in-school opera with their students and incorporate the COO program into their school curriculum.
Get the full story through the article:
Learning Takes Center Stage In Second Grade Opera Company, at
Mary Ruth came to Madrid thanks to a Fulbright scholarship and was based at the Teatro Real, the opera house which receives huge state funding. Many of us involved in music education here in Spain were so happy to see  her project and we hoped it would be the germ of a really worthwhile music education programme at the Teatro Real opera house.
The LOVA Project event which will take place at the end of February is a weekend affair, with an interesting group of presenters which will serve as the springboard for work throughout the year. On the web page you can read all the plans and watch various videos, via Vemo, of the development of the project so far.
LOVA stands for La Opera un vehículo de aprendizaje: Opera, a vehicle for learning, and the project receives funding from the Teatro Real and Saludarte. I just looked at the web page of the opera house and can’t find any mention of this project, maybe you can:
The Saludarte web page says about itself:

The arts as a vehicle for social transformation.

The Saludarte Foundation is a non-profit organization dedicated to develop artistic programs in the cultural and  educational fields, including social programs primarily for Iberoamerican children and youth.

The Foundation initiated its activities at its USA headquarters in Miami in 2003. Led by its Founder and Chairman, Adelaida (Tanya) Capriles de Brillembourg, SaludArte has also established local headquarters in Caracas and Madrid, continuously launching numerous successful events and projects, widely recognized and accredited by various renowned supporting and collaborating institutions and personalities.

About the opera programme LOVA, it explains:

With this program the Saludarte Foudation, in collaboration with the Teatro Real de Madrid, has begun the task of implementing a new and ambitious educational process in certain public elementary schools  in Spain, denominated: “The opera, a vehicle for learning.” The task begins by forming an opera company whose work is extended during the full academic year. Within each of the so-called companies, the children decide and create everything: the name and logo of the opera, the subject, title, plot, lyrics, music and dialogue, as well as other aspects of production such as costumes, scenery , lighting, communication, publicity, etc. Although the visible goal is to present the play at the end of the school year, most importantly, from day one, the important objective is achieving the shared learning and interactive processes gained in pursuit of a common goal. 
It is reassuring to see that Pedro Sarmiento is involved in LOVA: he has vast experience of music education in Spain and he is a creative musician in his own right.  
Take a look at the project’s Facebook page:
When I met Mary Ruth in 2006 I was charmed by her calm and matter of fact methods and inspired by her passion for her work. She came to visit me at work and was kind enough to be enthusiastic about what I was doing at the time.
 I should have seen then that her inspirational leadership is the kind that plants deep roots that produce quality fruit......
Congratulations Mary Ruth. 

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