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CLASSICAL  February 2005

CLASSICAL February 2005

Subject:

Seattle Opera, Guide Dogs Organization in Joint Program

From:

Janos Gereben <[log in to unmask]>

Date:

Tue, 22 Feb 2005 12:35:06 -0800

Content-Type:

text/plain

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text/plain (82 lines)

 [Seattle Opera press release]

   Opera Training for Puppies:

   Guide Dogs for the Blind and Seattle Opera Join Forces
   Puppies to Attend Rehearsal of Florencia-
   "A Good Opera for Beginners"
   Seattle-Opera spokeswoman Tina Ryker announced today that
   Seattle Opera and Guide Dogs for the Blind plan to form an
   informal partnership by having puppies in training with the
   For Your Eyes Only program attend the Opera's Wednesday night
   dress rehearsals with their pups' trainers.

   Given access to the opera house, the puppies in training will
   have an opportunity to be in a situation simulating an actual
   performance: a good number of people will be in the auditorium,
   the house will be dark, there will be a full orchestra, and
   the opera onstage, with a full cast, will proceed like an
   actual performance.

   The opera-house training for the puppies begins Wednesday,
   February 23, at 7:00 p.m., at McCaw Hall.  The rehearsal is
   of Daniel Catan's Florencia en el Amazonas, an excellent opera
   for beginners: it is relatively short (just over two hours),
   easy on the ears with its lyrical music, and offers an array
   of stunning visual effects.

   Explaining her group's interest in attending the opera, Robynn
   Coulter, a puppy raiser and the treasurer of For Your Eyes
   Only, says: "As a puppy raiser, I need to teach the dog proper
   behavior and develop his social skills so that when he is
   returned to Guide Dogs for the Blind, he will have experienced
   a wide variety of situations and have an understanding of the
   world around him.  This allows him to focus on learning the
   guide work he must master to lead a blind person."

   The puppies attending the opera are 9 to 13 months old.  They
   are all Labrador Retrievers.  Among the handler-and-pup duos
   attending the Florencia rehearsal are Brandon Jones and Boise,
   Hannah Zorn and Spence, Carolyn Marck and Sparkle, Jackie
   Stowe and Sheila, Eero Jones and Festive, and Robynn Coulter
   and Palmer.

   Coulter notes that most of the handlers in her group are
   involved in 4H programs: "In our region, guide dog puppy clubs
   operate in conjunction with Washington 4H programs to provide
   educational opportunities for both the teenagers and the
   dogs."

   Dogs in the opera house?

   "It's a natural," says Ryker, "most opera people are dog
   people.  They readily understand how important guide dogs are
   in giving those who might not otherwise be able to attend the
   opera an opportunity to attend.  We're eager to help with
   training the puppies by opening the doors to our dress
   rehearsals."

   Seattle Opera's General Director Speight Jenkins is not worried
   about how the dogs will react in the opera house: "My dogs
   have heard opera since they were puppies and always seem to
   enjoy it.  Jaspar, who has been in an opera and is particularly
   positive, always tunes in to sopranos.  I think our experiment
   here with For Your Eyes Only should be a big success."

   For Your Eyes Only is a Bellevue-based group that raises and
   socializes puppies for Guide Dogs for the Blind.  After their
   puppy training, the pups will return to Guide Dogs for the
   Blind to learn the work of guiding a blind person.  More
   information on puppy raising and Guide Dogs for the Blind can
   be found at their Web site, www.guidedogs.com.

   For the record: Speight Jenkins' immediate family includes a
   Wheaton Terrier (Jaspar) and two mixed breeds-both part chow,
   part shepherd, and "Lord knows what else." Tina Ryker's
   immediate family includes a Samoyed, a Collie, and an American
   Eskimo.  Administrative Director Kelly Tweeddale's family has
   a cat.

Janos Gereben
www.sfcv.org
[log in to unmask]

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