By: Sheryl Sowell | Category: In Our Communities | Issue: February 2011
The strings section will perform in the shark exhibit at Oklahoma Aquarium’s Symphony by the Sea for Students.
What kind of music fits the ominous view of sharks swimming just inches from your eyes? Which instruments seem to play along with the waving colors of fish and corals in a Caribbean reef? The Oklahoma Aquarium and Tulsa Symphony Orchestra are pleased to partner once again to present “Symphony by the Sea for Students.” This unique arts and science program is two field trips in one, providing students with introductions to classical music and instruments paired with lessons on aquatic life and environmental science. The aquarium will remain open to general admission guests and members.
The second annual Symphony by the Sea for Students takes place February 7-10 and 15-18. Students will rotate between three stations, each featuring a lesson on a particular environment or animal presented by an aquarium biologist, followed by a musical selection performed by Tulsa Symphony Orchestra quartets and quintets – strings, woodwinds and brass sections. “The children love it. They learn so much about music and aquatic life, have a lot of fun, and get to eat pizza!” says Michelle Zarantonello, education specialist at the Oklahoma Aquarium.
Teachers are encouraged to make reservations as soon as possible through the standard field trip process online at www.okaquarium.org. Limited scholarship funds are available for qualified school groups. Scholarship applications can be found on the website, or you may contact the Education Department (918) 528-1508 or eat0@eau0eav0eaw0.
“This field trip is wonderful because a lot of schools have experienced budget cuts and their music programs have been removed. Many schools simply cannot afford transportation for field trips. We hope to be able to reach a lot of kids through our scholarship program,” says Michelle.
The first-time program was so well received, the orchestra and aquarium vowed to expand Symphony by the Sea, making it available for more students. To do that, the organizations presented Symphony by the Sea as a fundraiser for an adult audience last August. With the money raised from the event, they were able to double the dates for this year’s event. The adult fundraiser will return on August 27, 2011. Both the Tulsa Symphony Orchestra and Oklahoma Aquarium are non-profit 501(c) 3 organizations. All donations are tax deductible and are shared equally by the orchestra and aquarium to continue their educational efforts.
Another exciting event returning soon to the aquarium is “Sleep with the Sharks,” taking place March 11 from 7 p.m. to 8 a.m. the next day. Imagine falling asleep alongside a soothing coral reef, or waking up to a bull shark swimming right overhead. The aquarium’s public sleepovers take place only twice a year. (Private groups may also arrange for sleepovers.) The sleepover will be filled with activities, dinner, a snack and breakfast, a movie, and maybe even a little sleep. You can slumber under the sea with your whole family, or kids age 10 and over can attend unchaperoned. The cost is $30 per person.
“The sleeping areas are first come, first served. Everyone always wants to sleep in the shark tunnel,” laughs Michelle. “We will have an educational presentation, a scavenger hunt, and a flashlight tour so the kids can see what the fish do at night. At 9:30 p.m., everyone will go into the Great Hall and watch ‘Despicable Me’ on the big screen and enjoy fresh popcorn from our popcorn machines.”
The only items you will need to bring to the sleepover are a sleeping bag and pillow, flashlight, toiletries such as toothbrush and toothpaste, and a change of clothes and pajamas, if desired.
All activities will be finished by 8 a.m. on Saturday morning, and everyone attending will need to arrange to leave by no later than 8:15 a.m. so that the aquarium can prepare for business that day.
To register for the sleepover, fill out and return the registration form on the aquarium’s website. Please note that you need to fill out one form for each person attending, and unchaperoned children will need to complete the unchaperoned registration form. Return the completed forms by Monday, March 7 along with a payment for each person attending to: Oklahoma Aquarium – Sleep with the Sharks, P.O. Box 910, Jenks, OK 74037.
Sheryl Sowell was born and raised in Tulsa, OK. She graduated from Will Rogers High School and received her Bachelor of Arts in English from Northeastern State University in 2007. She has worked for Value News as editor, writer and advertising copywriter since 2008. She enjoys meeting and interviewing people for Value News articles, learning about their backgrounds, and helping to promote their businesses and local events. In her free time, she enjoys reading, trying new recipes and crafts from Pinterest, attending concerts and sporting events, and spending time with family and friends. Sheryl lives in Tulsa with her fiancé Paul, their daughter Scarlett, and their two dogs, Gunner and Boo.