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Delta academy goes operatic

School district launches new program in partnership with Vancouver Opera
opera academy
Alan Macdonald in the Vancouver Opera’s Barber of Barkerville.

The Delta school district is launching a new opera academy in September.

The Opera Performance Academy, offered through a partnership with Vancouver Opera and based out of Delta Secondary, is for Delta school district students from grades 8 to 12. "I'm extremely excited about offering this opportunity in the district. I think it will really add to what's already happening really well in this district," says Paige Hansen, viceprincipal of academy programs.

She says she sees the offering as "being something kids will absolutely love."

Colleen Maybin is the director of education and community engagement Vancouver Opera.

She says students will be going through singing and acting lessons, learning about opera as an art form and languages like Italian, French and German.

She says Vancouver Opera has existing programs that are based on experiential learning for kids through opera and the academy is taking that to the next step.

"It's really about introducing these students to the professional world of opera and giving them a chance to develop their performance skills and having the experience of the multi-disciplinary nature of opera," she says.

She said it's Vancouver Opera's intention for students to work with its coaches, pianists, singers and all of the other professionals who work with the group.

"It also gives them backstage access to pretty much everything going on for us."

Maybin says there's nothing out there that's similar to this academy.

"No one is doing anything like this. It's very innovative," she says.

There will be an information meeting on the new opera academy on Feb. 3 at 7 p.m. at DSS.

Hansen says students will be able to sign up beginning in early February.

There are also open houses for academy programs scheduled for Saturday, Jan. 23 (10 a.m. to 1 p.m. at Delta Manor Education Centre) and Saturday, Jan. 30 (10 a.m. to 1 p.m. at Burnsview Secondary).

While academies are fee-paying programs, the money goes strictly to covering the costs of running them, Hansen says.

For more on the district's academy programs, visit