DETROIT (WWJ) – The Michigan Opera Theatre closes out its performances of “Carmina Burana”  this weekend.

Among the hundreds of cast members are a group of youngsters ages 10 to 16. As WWJ’s Marie Osborne reports, these kids spend hours pouring over ancient writings, practicing music and languages like Latin.

“Carmina Burana” is a collection of poems and writings from the 11th Century, so what can teenagers get out of it?

“For some reason, that music just really gets to me,” said 14-year-old Alex Capeneka, a member of MOT’s Children’s Chorus. “I think its not normal that other kids don’t listen to opera.”

Fifteen-year-old Emily Crombez said the several hours of rehearsal each week, along with all of the homework and other activities she has in her life, is worth the effort.

“To be in a professional show is just so amazing,” she said. “There’s 75 or 100 adult chorus members around you, and the sound that they produce, it’s so, I mean, it’s loud and it’s empowering.”

Crombez said while opera soothes her soul, not all of her friends share the same love for it that she does.

“Some of them think it’s kind of weird that I like to sing opera. But, they don’t give it a chance. An opera can be really cool if you understand it,” she said.

But others, like Capeneka, said his friends consider his love for opera as “cool.”

“My friends really like that I sing opera. They think it’s something different,” he said.

The only think Capeneka worries about is growing out of the 48 member choir.

“I’m hoping this isn’t my last year, but maybe if my voice doesn’t completely change by next year, I can be in it another year,” he confessed.

For more information on MOT’s Children’s Chorus, visit

Comments (2)
  1. Margaret Capeneka says:

    Thanks for this article and on line interview about the Michigan Opera Theatre kids Marie. Is there any way you can correct the spelling of Alex and Emily’s last names? It’s Alex Capeneka and Emily Crombez. Thanks agian! Love what you did!!

    1. sstoddart says:

      Hi Margaret — sorry about the spelling errors. I’ll fix those for you right away.

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