According to a recent study from the US Department of Education, only 4% of elementary schools provide any kind of theater arts instruction. This is down from 20% only a decade ago. That's just one reason that San Francisco’s Little Opera is so extraordinary.
Little Opera is an after-school program that leads local children through the creation and performance of an original opera. This past year, the program's third season, kids in first through fifth grade met twice a week for nine months at West Portal Elementary School.
Miguel Garcia has tears in his eyes while he’s singing a an old Righteous Brothers tune. This song brings back memories. He’s wearing a red Manchester United jersey, navy blue track pants and bright green flip flops. Sixty one year old Garcia is used to having a microphone in front of him, so he begins belting out a medley of his favorite songs. He says that his past was at times, well, unhealthy.
The band you’re hearing now calls themselves Crosscut. Most of the players are from the Bay Area, but their sound is influenced by the Blues – blues from Chicago, Memphis and the Mississippi Delta. Crosscut will be playing music from their album, also called “Crosscut,” on Wednesday (06.12). The free show is part of this year’s “Union Square Live” program, at – where else? - San Francisco’s Union Square. They’re on stage from 6 to 8pm.