Binghamton University Masters student to engage local middle schoolers with “Pocket Operas”


BINGHAMTON, NY – A Binghamton University graduate student is hoping to bring his love of the arts to middle school students with the help of a new grant.

Canaan Harris is a Whitney Point native in his last semester at B-U, where he is getting his Master’s in Music Composition.

He beat out a number of competitors for a ten thousand dollar grant from the SUNY Performing Arts, Creation and Curation competition, and will be using the money for a contest of his own.\

Harris is launching the Southern Tier Opera Project with the Binghamton Area Reading Council and Tri-Cities Opera.

The project will engage middle school students and encourage them to write “pocket operas,” or mini operas.

Harris says the prompt will be Stories from the Southern Tier.

“I wanted to have the age group that was most knowledgeable at the time about local history, and 6th and 7th graders are learning that in those grades and they’re at a level where they can put together a cohesive story in writing development, too,” says Harris.

Harris hopes to have the contest in the schools by the end of the month, with a due date on May 27th.

Winners will be announced on June 10th.

He says it is yet to be determined if the operas can be performed live, but he is hopeful that they will be.

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