Amarillo Opera returns to stage with focus on community enrichment

VIDEO: Amarillo Opera Returns To The Stage, Schools and Nursing Homes

AMARILLO, Texas (KFDA) - The Amarillo Opera returns to the stage this weekend with their performance of ‘R. S. B. E Remove Shoes Before Entering,’ but their entrance back into the Amarillo art scene goes beyond on-stage performances.

“The core of Amarillo Opera really is the community enrichment. That’s what we’re here to do,” Chancelor Barbaree, director of education and outreach for Amarillo Opera. “Education and outreach really is the heart of this, and we weren’t able to do anything this year.”

The opera cancelled their performance of ‘R.S.B.E Remove Shoes Before Entering’ in November after cast members contracted COVID.

Without performances or educational programs, the opera relied on the support of community members, donors and PPP loans.

“When the money really dried up, we [weren’t] doing shows, it felt like we weren’t working. It felt like we didn’t really have jobs there for a little bit and the morale was down,” said Barbaree.

The Amarillo Opera says ‘R.S.B.E Remove Shoes Before Entering’ is the perfect show to kick off a new season for the opera, as the show focuses on their main goal of community enrichment and education.

“It’s coming back to the heart of what we do... this show is more outreach than it is an actual show,” explained Barbaree. “We’re really trying to get the younger crowd in, particularly high school and young adults...because it’s that age that is on the stage, it’s that age that is being represented. So in a round about way, this is really community enrichment, more than it is a main stage production.”

Barbaree says the opera is hitting the ground running, as this show is just the start of heightened community involvement going forward.

“We really [think] is the time. We need to start now, we need to get back on the Amarillo art circuit,” said Barbaree.

This includes returning to school classrooms.

“May 17th is our first round [of programs] and we do 15 on the week of May 17,” explained Barbaree. “We’ll do three a day and then we’ll actually have two to four planned for the next week for some of the outlined counties.”

Barbaree is most excited to expose kids to art once again.

“I’m just excited to see smiling faces and to have them exposed to this art form,” he said. “Everybody needs the arts. As much as people like to say art is expendable., people need the arts. As we saw through the pandemic, people relied on the arts.”

This community outreach also includes senior programs.

As nursing homes allow more guests, the Amarillo Opera plans to continue their senior education and outreach.

‘R.S.B.E Remove Shoes Before Entering’ performs at the Amarillo College Concert Hall this Friday and Saturday evening at 7:30 p.m.

A matinee performance is also offered Sunday at 2 p.m.

Tickets can be purchased here.

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