November 4, 2022

Clarion Area School Students to Attend Special Student Matinee of Pittsburgh Opera’s ‘The Marriage of Figaro’

Special Educational Performance to be Held Thursday, November 10th at 10:15 AM

CLARION, PA, NOVEMBER 4, 2022 – It’s ‘Big Arts Meet Small Towns’ when 44 students from Clarion Area Middle School and High School, along with faculty representatives, Sarah Dawson and Sarah Matson and others, will board an early-morning bus bound for Pittsburgh’s Cultural District on Thursday, November 10th. These students will be attending a special matinee and educational program of Pittsburgh’s Opera’s “The Marriage of Figaro.” The curtain goes up at 10:15 AM.

According to Joe Carrico, Superintendent of Clarion Area Schools, “We’re incredibly excited about the opportunity for our kids to be involved in this opportunity. We believe the arts are crucially important to education, to our communities and to our students. They’ll now be immersed in the arts on a scale that many of them would not otherwise have access to, due to the physical distance between our community and professional arts organizations like Pittsburgh Opera. I’m grateful for the work that Sarah Matson, choral faculty and Sarah Dawson, band/instruments faculty, has invested to make this a truly unique and unforgettable educational experience for our students.”

There is a formal, multi-pronged teaching element to Pittsburgh Opera’s education program. All participating schools participated in a series of pre-performance educational webinars that help them prepare students for the performance they’ll experience. This educational program from the Pittsburgh Opera is a very special opportunity for regional students to learn about the opera in their classrooms before attending, and by the time they reach the Benedum, the enthusiasm is like nothing else. This is also an opportunity for Pittsburgh Opera’s Resident Artists, typically covering leads, to take on key roles themselves. So, there is a unique educational opportunity on both sides of the stage, for students and performers alike.

Clarion Area students are being sponsored and hosted by Clarion native, Pam Selker Rak, president of CommuniTech and Robert W. Rak, Vice President of Finance and Administration at Pittsburgh Opera. “As a Clarion native, it was important to me that students from my hometown be able to experience this unique opportunity,” said Pam Rak. “Bob and I decided to sponsor students from both of our respective hometowns, Clarion and McKees Rocks, to help make the connection between big arts and smaller communities. For my part, I reached out to Braxton White, Clarion Area School Board Member, and he was instrumental in helping us connect all the dots. We’re thrilled by the enthusiasm that both communities have shown in participating in this special student performance.”