Youth Opera International

Contact Us -

Voice: (912) 231-0243

       Fax: (912) 234-2098


Musical Note
Musical Note

Youth Opera International is dedicated to promoting the theater arts through the creation and performance of opera productions, seminars in teaching music and movement and the dissemination of related educational materials.


Typically beginning on a Monday and culminating with a performance on a Friday evening, the Youth Opera International week-long workshops offer three elements of theatre -- singing, dancing and acting -- come together in an original children's opera. During the months preceding opera week, the children and support team of adults begin the preliminary work: learning the story, spoken lines and songs, preparing sets, props and costumes, and engaging in cultural studies related to the theme/culture of the opera. Youth Opera International provides the libretto, musical score, guidelines for casting, costuming, set and lighting design specs, and prop list, along with a sample DVDs of previous performances and CD for rehearsals well in advance.


During opera week, each full day is spent rehearsing with Judy and Sanford Jones. The day begins with physical and vocal warm-ups, singing the cast songs, and learning the language of the theatre. From mid-morning to mid-afternoon, the children work on solo and small group songs and choreographed dances. By mid-week, rehearsals move to the performance space and staging is begun. Dress rehearsal is Friday morning and the performance is Friday evening.


As the 'reviewers' (children and adults who have taken part in the opera experience) keep telling us, the Opera Workshops make a lasting impression on young lives, giving them heightened self-confidence and goal-oriented focus. It also brings whole school communities -- children, parents and staff -- together in a productive and joyful event. A number of schools make this an annual event, either during the school year or as a summer camp offering. Most schools use this event as a fundraiser as well and tickets are sold in advance. When it is a summer opera workshop, the children come together one week prior to opera week to do the preliminary work.


The yearly season for opera bookings with the Joneses is arranged in June, with bookings made one year in advance. Performance rights on a royalty basis are also available (production material is supplied but on-site direction is not provided by the Joneses.)


More about us:

Montessori Teachers Institute for Professional Studies

Savannah Morning News Article by Jane Fishman




Sanford Jones is known internationally as a Montessori educator, lecturer and composer. He has made significant contributions to the Montessori movement, including the founding and directing of four schools on the East Coast. He was the founding president of the North American Montessori Teachers’ Association, and he is a former Executive Director of the Association Montessori Internationale-USA.

Mr. Jones, a native of Virginia, did his undergraduate work in music and history at Westminster Choir College, Rutgers University and Roanoke College. A piano and piano pedagogy student of Frances Clark, and a member of Westminster Choir under John Finley Williamson, he taught at Westminster Choir College and The New School for Music Study in Princeton, New Jersey. He is the composer of many songbooks for children and also has created a line of educational materials used in Montessori classrooms internationally. His repertoire of thirteen children’s operas has been performed over 500 times. In 2012, he was presented with a “Wisdom of the Elders” award from the Montessori Accreditation Council for Teacher Education in recognition of a lifetime of dedicated service to Montessori education.




Judy Jones began her performing career while still in high school, dancing in the Dallas State Fair musicals for two seasons. She then attended the University of Utah as a ballet major. In New York City, she danced for ten years in a number of Broadway musicals, including My Fair Lady, Hallelujah, Baby! and Do I Hear a Waltz? She was in the original cast of A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum, and she appeared in the movie, The Producers.

Ms. Jones owned and directed two dance studios in New Jersey. Later, she directed the Fine Arts Program for the Charles Towne Montessori School in Charleston, South Carolina and served as movement consultant/teacher for the Charles Ellis Montessori Academy in Savannah, Georgia. Judy is certified in the Laban/Bartenieff theory of movement and in Brain Gym Levels I and II of Educational Kinesiology. She holds a degree in Theatre from Armstrong Atlantic State University in Savannah.



Sanford and Judy Jones