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Photo by Cory Weaver

Sketchbook for Ollie

Lyric Opera of Kansas City is proud to offer touring performances of Sketchbook for Ollie to schools across the Kansas City area. Newly commissioned by the Lyric, Sketchbook for Ollie is aligned to music curricular standards and created specifically for students in grades 3-5. The piece prioritizes social-emotional learning, interactivity, and music fundamentals.

To amplify the experience, teachers will receive access to curricular resources to ensure students acquire tools to unlock opera’s potential.

Sketchbook for Ollie
by Rachel J. Peters
Adapted from the story Life Is a Jar of Paint by Bill Folman

Eight-year-old OLLIE questions the meaning of life after the death of his grandmother. He is frustrated with grownups avoiding his tough but important questions. The only answer that satisfies him comes from his AUNT LEEZA, a composer, who shows him that life is like her music sketchbook. She shows him a wide variety of methods to make and share the ongoing compositions of our lives, whether professionally or through other altruistic interactions. OLLIE comes to understand how the contents of his own sketchbook can affect others’ in an ongoing sonic realization of everyone’s experience. With these new tools, OLLIE creates his own song involving the whole family and audience. AUNT LEEZA gives OLLIE his own blank sketchbook for the hard questions yet to come.

Performances include access to curricular resources, pre- and post-performance activities facilitated by Lyric Opera education staff, and a Q&A with the cast.

Available Dates:

  • October 3-7, 2022
  • October 10-15, 2022
  • November 14-18, 2022

Length: 60 minutes total
Language: English

Available for grades 3-5. For more information, reach out to Director of Education and Community Engagement Neal Long at nlong@kcopera.org or 816-802-6054.

Register Now

For priority scheduling, register no later than Monday, September 12, 2022.


Curricular Connections

Sketchbook for Ollie address curricular standards for students in grades 3-5 including:

  • Solfege
  • Using music to express emotions
  • Instrument families
  • Vocal performance
  • World instruments
  • Careers in the arts
  • Singing in parts

Sketchbook for Ollie has a strong social-emotional focus, specifically themes of grief and loss.


$595 per performance

If scheduling multiple performances in one day at the same location, contact Director of Education and Community Engagement Neal Long at nlong@kcopera.org or 816-802-6054 for a quote.


  1. Floor space measuring at least 16 feet wide by 12 feet deep with a ceiling height of 10 feet.
  2. Access to performance space at least 60 minutes prior to performance for setup and 45 minutes after performance for teardown.
  3. Access to an electrical outlet for the keyboard.
  4. School volunteer to help unload and load the van before and after the performance.

Registration & Payment

Register Now

For priority scheduling, register no later than Monday, September 12, 2022.

Payment may be made by check or card.


Groups with individuals requiring accommodations are encouraged to reach out to Neal Long, Director of Education and Community Engagement, at nlong@kcopera.org or 816-802-6054.


Neal Long, Director of Education and Community Engagement
Phone: 816-802-6054
Email: nlong@kcopera.org

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