Schmidt Opera Outreach Program (SOOP)

Winner of the 2012-2013 KMEA Friend of Music Award

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Under the direction of Dr. Everett McCorvey, in 2003 the University of Kentucky Opera Theatre and the Lexington Opera Society established an opera outreach and education program. Since 2007, under the new sponsorship of the William E. Schmidt Foundation, the arts have now become accessible to the children of Kentucky through the Schmidt Opera Outreach Program (SOOP). Using fairy tales, children's stories, and American history, along with the music of Mozart, Rossini, Offenbach, Rodriquez and Malcolm Fox, SOOP has introduced over 290,000 Kentucky students in more than 270 schools and 77 counties to the fundamental components, basic terminology and the glorious melodies of opera and traditional American music. We are building tomorrow's audiences and performers through this program.

SOOP has performed shows for schools, theaters and libraries across the state. We have worked with community groups such as local women's clubs, arts councils and UK agriculture extension offices, all which help to provide funding and bring our show to their community.

SOOP casts are made up young professional singers and an accompanist. The shows, suited for grades K-5, typically run about 40 minutes and we offer a Question and Answer session after every show. Before we arrive, each school is supplied with an extensive study guide to help prepare the students and teachers for the group's arrival. Tours generally run August-December and bookings begin in late spring.

Our mission:

  • To make the arts accessible to children of all ages.
  • To introduce students to the fundamental components of opera
  • To cultivate an understanding for and an appreciation of opera
  • To help students identify with fictional characters in human situations as a means of understanding themselves and others
  • To educate and entertain!

For more information about SOOP or to book or sponsor a performance, contact Courtney Turay at 859.402.6946 or UKSOOP@gmail.com.

Recent News

UK Opera Performs at RES
rockcastle.kyschools.us, September 16, 2013
The UK Opera Theater gave an amazing performance of Jack and the Beanstalk at Roundstone Elementary School on Wednesday September 4, 2013. Students were captivated by the performance of this well known tale...cont.

UK's Schmidt Opera Outreach Program Honored
UKNow, February 5, 2013
The Kentucky Music Educators Association (KMEA) presented the 2013 Friend of Music Award to the Schmidt Opera Outreach Program (SOOP) during its annual Professional Development Conference Awards Ceremony in Louisville...cont.

Download "Billy Goats Gruff" Study Guide

SOOP Photos

KMEA Awards Ceremony, February 8, 2013, Louisville, KY

Presentation of the KMEA Friend of Music Award, the highest award given for non-educator contribution to music education in the state of Kentucky. Pictured Left to Right: Michael Butera, Executive Director, National Association for Music Education; Skip Gray, Interim Director of the UK School of Music; Courtney Turay, SOOP Outreach Coordinator; and on the right is Joe Stites, Vice President, Kentucky Music Educators Association.


Little Red's Most Unusual Day

Get Stuffed

Billy Goats Gruff

Monkey See, Monkey Do!

The Freedom Trail

A Shirt Tail Boy Named Abe


Children's Opera Comes to Somerset
Commonwealth Journal, December 9, 2012
On Thursday, Nov. 29, Pinocchio was presented by The Schmidt Opera Outreach Program (SOOP) at Somerset Hight School...cont.

Opera group coming to nine Boone schools
Cincinnati.com, November 30, 2012
The University of Kentucky Schmidt Opera Outreach Program (SOOP) will visit nine Boone County elementary schools to perform a one-act operatic telling of Pinocchio...cont.

Womans Club Brings the Arts to School
K105 News, November 29, 2012
The Leitchfield Womans Club recently provided local fourth graders a rare treat -- an operatic performance of Pinocchio...cont.

Lesson in nutrition with a taste of opera
Kentucky.com/, February 8, 2010
Get Stuffed is the Schmidt Opera Outreach Program's new show featuring information about nutrition and its effect on student health and learning...cont.

Schools Where SOOP Has Performed

Anderson County:
Emma B Ward Elementary

Bath County:
Crossroads Elementary
Owingsville Elementary

Boone County:
New Haven Elementary
Erpenbeck Elementary
Mann Elementary
Stephens Elementary
Longbranch Elementary
Burlington Elementary
Ockerman Elementary
North Pointe Elementary
Thornwilde Elementary

Bourbon County:
Cane Ridge Elementary
North Middletown Elementary

Boyd County:
Cattlesburg Elementary
Hager Elementary
Crabbe Elementary
Paramount Arts Center
The Franks Extension Building

Boyle County:
Danville Elementary

Bullitt County:
Crossroads Elementary
Nichols Elementary
Pleasant Grove Elementary
Shepherdsville Elementary
Mt. Washington Elementary

Caldwell County:
UK Research and Ed Center

Campbell County:
Silver Grove School

Carlisle County:
Carlisle County Elementary

Christian County:
Pennyroyal Arts Council
Belmont Elementary
Crofton Elementary
Holiday Elementary
Indian Hills Elementary
Lacy Elementary
Martin Luther King Jr. Elementary
Millbrooke Elementary
Pembroke Elementary
South Christian Elementary
Sinking Fork Elementary

Clark County:
Leeds Theater
Central Elementary
Pilot View Elementary

Cumberland County:
Cumberland County Elementary

Daviess County:
East View
Sorgho Elementary

Edmonson County:
Kyrock Elementary

Elliot County:
Adkins Caudill Performing Arts Center

Estill County:
West Irvine Elementary
Estill Springs Elementary

Fayette County:
Morton Middle School
Garden Springs Elementary
Juilus Marks
Ashland Elementary
William Wells Elementary
Family Care Center
Liberty Elementary School
Cassidy Elementary
Maxwell Elementary
Bravo Guild
Providence Montessouri School
Arlington Elementary
Deep Springs Elementary
Dixie Elementary
Glendover Elementary
Harrison Elementary
James Lane Allen
Lansdowne Elementary
Lexington School
Mary Tood Elementary
Meadowthorpe Elementary
Northern Elementary
Russell Cave Elementary
Stonewall Elementary
Sts. Peter and Paul
Tates Creek Elementary
Yates Elementary
Good Shepherd Day School
Rosa Parks Elementary
Sandersville Elementary
Wellington Elementary
Joseph Beth Booksellers

Floyd County:
May Valley Elementary
Mountain Arts Center

Franklin County:
Good Shepherd at Hearn Elementary
Early Learning Village East
Westridge Elementary
The Grand Theater

Fulton County:
Carr Elementary
Fulton County Elementary
Greensburg Elementary

Gallatin County:
Gallatin county High P.A.C.

Grayson County:
Grayson County Middle School P.A.C.

Green County:
Green County Primary School
Grey's Branch Elementary

Greenup County:
Raceland Worthington CAC
Russell Primary School
Russell Intermediate School

Hardin County:
GC Burkhead Elementary
Morningside Elementary
Rineyville Elementary
GC Berkhardt
Lincoln Trail Elementary
Heartland Elementary
Helmwood Elementary

Harrison County:
Eastside Elementary
Northside Elementary

Hart County:
Le Grande Elementary School

Henry County:
Eminence Independent School
Henry Co High School

Hickman County:
Hickman County Elementary

Jefferson County:
Coral Ridge Elementary
Slaughter Elementary
Blake Elementary
Chancey Elementary
Medora Elementary
Portland Elementary
Tully Elementary School
Wellington Elementary
Hite Elementary
Wilder Elementary

Jessamine County:
Nicholasville Elementary
Blessed Sacrement

Kenton County:
Whites Tower Elementary

Knott County:
Hindman Elementary
Emalena Elementary
The June Buchanon School

Knox County:
Barbourville Elementary
GR Hampton Elementary
Girdler Elementary

Laurel County:
Laurel County Public Library
Camp Ground Elementary
Cold Hill Elementary

Lee County:
Lee County High School

Leslie County:
Mountain View Elementary
WB Muncy Elementary

Lewis County:
Garrison Elementary
Lewis County Central Elementary

Livingston County:
North Livingston Elementary

Lyon County:
Lyon County Schools

Madison County:
Shannon Johnson Elementary
Madison Middle School
Kingston Elementary

Marshall County:
Marshall County High P.A.C.

McCracken County:
The Carson Center for Performing Arts

Mercer County:
Harlow Early Learning Center

Monroe County:
Monroe county Community Resource Center

Montgomery County:
Carmargo Elementary
Mt. Sterling Elementary
Mapleton Elementary
Methodist Church

Morgan County:
Ezel Elementary School
Morgan Central Elementary
West Liberty Elementary
East Valley Elementary

Muhlenberg County:
Greenville Elementary
Felix E. Martin Jr. Creative and Performing Arts Hall
Muhlenberg South Elementary School

Nelson County:
Bloomfield Elementary
Bardstown Elementary
Foster Heights Elementary

Nicholas County:
Nicholas County Elementary

Oldham County:
Camden Station Elementary

Owsley County
Owsley County High School

Perry County:
The Forum Theater

Pike County:
Robinson Creek Elementary

Powell County:
Clay City Elementary

Pulaski County:
Center for Rural Development
Hopkins Elementary

Rockcastle County:
Mt. Vernon Elementary
Rockcastle County High
Broadhead Elementary
Roundstone Elementary

Russell County:
Russell Springs Elementary

Scott County:
Stamping Ground Elementary
Western Elementary
Garth Elementary
Anne Mason Elementary

Shelby County:
Clear Creek Elementary

Trigg County:
Trigg County Elementary

Warren County:
Briarwood Elementary

Wayne County:
Bell Elementary
Monticello Elementary

Wolfe County:
Campton Elementary

Woodford County:
Falling Springs P.A.C.