Andy Truett, a veteran teaching artist for San Francisco Opera Guild, sang in San Francisco Opera’s recent production of Verdi’s A Masked Ball as a chorus member. He is also a Marin County resident, so I asked him to introduce the opera to College of Marin students attending through the Guild’s Student Dress Rehearsal program. I hadn’t realized that Andy was an alumnus of the College. Their professor, Linda Noble Brown, writes:
Andy’s presentation about the opera really brought it to life for them. We were especially thankful, however, when he shared his personal story. Being an alumnus who had a troubled early life, many could relate. Seeing him in such a wonderful space in his life now, earning a living doing what he loves, it was so inspiring for many of our struggling students.
Andy, also an alumnus of San Rafael High School, performed the role of Rodolfo there in our touring production of La Bohème. His wife, Suzanne, teaches Romance languages at the school and took on the role of Mimi, as she had back in 2008 when she was an artist on our roster. In addition to the poignancy of this real-life couple playing opposite each other, Andy again spoke to the audience about his difficult years as a teenager, and how his involvement with singing became the impetus for getting his life on track.
I recently attended an Arts Town Hall with candidates for San Francisco Supervisor. Much time was spent discussing the real estate market in the city – how it affects small non-profits’ ability to afford space as well as artists to afford housing. But the panel began with candidates recalling personal experiences with the arts, and, sure enough, one of the incumbent supervisors recollected the impact of attending an opera while a student at a San Francisco public school. I often hear similar stories from people who spent their childhood years here. San Francisco Opera Guild has provided these experiences to students for 75 years. Seeds planted bear fruit in unexpected ways in the sometimes elusive world of arts education.Note: If you are receiving this post in an email, you will need to open it in a web browser to view the video.