Giving the Gift of Voice to Those Who Need it Most

Met Chorus Artists are out in the community providing singing lessons for children in New York City's foster care system with Culture for One.

Belinda Oswald and Shanise at a Culture for One voice lesson.

Belinda Oswald and Shanise at a Culture for One voice lesson.

By Edward Hanlon

It can be easy to take opera for granted while singing in the Met Opera Chorus; we are at the opera house six days a week and are consistently exposed to the greatest musical and artistic talent in the classical music world.  But it's important to remember that few are so lucky.  Many of our close New York neighbors have never had a chance to feel up close the power of live music and theater as we do.  With this in mind, the Met Chorus Artists are making it our mission to bring this operatic art form that we love to communities that would otherwise never have the opportunity to experience it. Over the past year the we have begun what will hopefully be a long and fruitful relationship with the fantastic outreach organization Culture for One.   They have a vital mission in the New York foster community:

Culture For One’s mission is to inspire New York City children living in foster care by providing cultural experiences and exposure to a broader world. Through these opportunities we are improving outcomes for these most vulnerable youth, and for some, changing their trajectories forever.
Access to the arts, rarely available to youth in foster care, is a vital means of stimulating a child’s intellectual development.  Culture For One uses the arts as a vehicle to connect with these children and teens, motivate them, widen their view of what is possible to achieve, and stimulate their aspirations.  In conjunction with the arts experiences we provide, we also introduce them to positive role models, who offer encouragement and resources outside of their limited circle of support.

Our purpose is to enrich the lives and improve the futures of youth in the foster care system. 

Last year, tenors Nathan Carlisle and Dustin Lucas had a lesson with Sarah and Belinda Oswald taught Shanise.  It was their first voice lessons, first time in Lincoln Center and, after the lesson, the students and their foster parents attended their first opera in style: orchestra seats at the Met!

We are happy to report that we have a long list of Met Chorus volunteers excited to do their part in this wonderful program for the children in our community who need it most!