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Lyric Opera, Chicago Urban League unite for EmpowerYouth arts program

Thirty area high school students, primarily from Bronzeville, Englewood, West Englewood and Roseland, will be taking part in a new collaborative arts performance program under the auspices of the Lyric Opera of Chicago and the Chicago Urban League, it was announced today.

The program will culminate “in the presentation of a fully staged, youth-centric opera based on real-life experiences,” today’s announcement stated.

"EmpowerYouth! Igniting Creativity through the Arts" is a multiyear after school educational and creative partnership that kicks

“EmpowerYouth! Igniting Creativity through the Arts” is a multiyear after school educational and creative partnership that kicks off Oct. 4 and continues through summer 2019, administered by Lyric Unlimited, Lyric’s longstanding education arm, and the Chicago Urban League’s Youth Development department. “Participants will be exposed to careers and mentors in the arts, while sharing their stories about navigating life in Chicago. These stories will become the basis for the libretto of the new work, which will be presented as a culminating event of the program’s first year on May 31, 2018, in a public performance at the Lyric Opera House,” according to the official statement.

Participants will meet weekly with mentors — professionals in the performing arts — to craft their work, under the guidance of composer/producer/arranger Damien Sneed and librettist/poet/performance artist Patricia Smith.

“What a wonderful opportunity for creative collaboration between our two organizations, all in support of the students it will serve,” said Anthony Freud, Lyric’s general director, president & CEO, in today’s announcement. “And what exciting opportunities EmpowerYouth! will provide for the participating high school students — through education, exposure, engagement, and experience. We greatly look forward to supporting their journey of discovery — of opera as a revelatory form of expression, and even more important, of themselves as creative individuals and collaborators with unlimited potential.”