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Albuquerque Española Valley Los Alamos Santa Fe Taos Guild History

History of the Guilds of The Santa Fe Opera, Inc.


John RichterJohn L. Richter was President

A trip to Alamos, Mexico, as a fund raiser sponsored by the Taos Opera Guild took place between January 26 and 30th. Members of the Taos Opera Guild, Santa Fe Opera Guild, and the Albuquerque Opera Guild went on the trip, which was put together by Taos Travel whose owner was a guild member. Nightly programs by some of Mexico’s famous opera singers were part of the package, as were parties at some of Alamos’ most elegant homes.

There were 23 dessert previews and 12 suppers hosted by guild members.

“A Day at the Opera Ranch” was held on May 27 with entertainment beginning at 10am. Backstage tours, food booths, four children’s operas were presented. Children in the statewide mentor program “Celebrate Youth!” were there with dance soloists, madrigal singers, a jazz ensemble, mariachis, and more. The Albuquerque Girls Choir entertained in the theater patio.

Youth Night offerings in 1995 were: Countess Maritza, La Nozze di Figaro, and La fanciulla del West.

The Opera Apprentice Tour took place from September 5 to September 14 with artists presenting arias from La traviata, Carmen, Zaza, Romeo and Juliette, The Barber of Seville, and Les contes d’Hoffman. Apprentice singers were Kellie McCurdy, Oziel Garga Ornelas, Melanie Sarakatsannis, and Stanley Jackson. Kirt Pavitt was accompanist.

Shirley Downey-Fine of the Albuquerque Guild prepared a tour to Chicago for five days and four nights in September. Included in the package were the opera Simon Boccanegra, an evening of Gershwin, and a visit to the Art Institute of
Chicago to see a Monet exhibit. A number of Guilds, Inc. members enjoyed the trip. The price included a donation of $100 per person which went to the Opera.

The President was Ron Kron.

Guilds’ contributions, 1996 - 97: On November 13, 1997, Guilds, Inc. reported to the Opera’s Board of Directors that the guilds raised $213,000 for the company. This included the Opera Shop profits, which was run by guild members.

Joyce RemkeThe President was Joyce Remke.

Jill Hardy was assigned to be Guilds Liaison Officer and Volunteer Coordinator in 1997. Robert Knissel and Santa Fe Opera General Director, Richard Gaddes attended the Guilds, Inc. meeting and introduced Jill Hardy to the guild members present. After the meeting, Andrea Fellows Walters conducted a tour of the newly completed opera theater.

“A Day at the Opera Ranch” was held at Kaune Elementary due to the construction at the opera theater and was dubbed "A Day at the Opera Ranch, Off Ranch". It was not as well attended as when it held on the Opera grounds, and the guilds made very little money from the food service.

Joyce Remke and Delores Thomas attended the Opera Guilds International (OGI, now Opera Volunteers International, OVI) Conference in Miami, Florida, and presented a workshop entitled “One Opera Company, Multiple Support Groups: How it Works.” Attendees at the Conference were impressed and expressed admiration for this activity in New Mexico.

A grand Champagne Breakfast was held on the theater grounds on June 28, 1998, sponsored by the Opera. The event was to honor Guilds, Inc. members, Opera Shop founders, and The Santa Fe Opera Guild for its many years of shop sponsorship. Jim Seitz, a generous donor to the Opera, donated the funds to build the new walk-in opera shop, and Guild members present were among the first to tour the new shop and theater.

Raffle tickets for a Mercedes Benz were distributed to guild members and a percentage of each ticket sold was credited to the guild. Distribution took place on July 18, 1998.

Guests at the annual Guilds, Inc. meeting at La Posada were Santa Fe Opera Director, Richard Gaddes, and new Development Director, Richard Cox.

Jill HardyThe Guilds, Inc. Newsletter was taken over by Jill Hardy, Guilds and Volunteer Liaison, due to the resignation of Charmain Combra, a paid position of Guilds, Inc. The newsletter was planned to be published quarterly in December, March, June and September.

The Opera Mosaic Program was very successful this year. It was a collaboration between the Opera Studies Department at the University of New Mexico and The Santa Fe Opera and Guilds, Inc. volunteers. There was a total of 84 performances in 15 communities, including 71 elementary schools and 11 Pueblo Opera Programs, plus two performances for guilds.

There were two teams of artists. Team B included Louise Mendius, Sam Shepperson, Brady McElligott and Debra Siebert. On Team A were Paul Bowe, Dominique Monalez, Julie Romhach-Kendall, William Sirco and Ron Grinage, pianist. Included in the programs were selections from Madama Butterfly and The Magic Flute.

The number of guests for the Preview Buffets increased by 12 percent from the previous year. However, the Orpheus Grove picnics were no better attended than in previous years, and there was little or no profit from this activity.

The Development Committee comprised of Guilds, Inc. members Ron Kron, Delores Thomas, and Elizabeth Romero accompanied by Guilds, Inc. President, Joyce Remke, traveled to Las Vegas, New Mexico three times to meet with citizens there in order to establish a guild.

Membership, 1997- 98: A total of 715 guild members logged in over 10,000 volunteer hours in the different fund raising activities for The Santa Fe Opera.
Guilds’ contributions: A contribution of $100,000 was made to the Santa Fe Opera, including a total of $64,917 profit from the pre-opera dinners and picnics this year.

Joyce Remke remained as President.

She reported a very successful year for Guilds, Inc. Attendance at Guilds, Inc. meetings reached an all-time high throughout the year. The by-laws were revised, and changes adopted this year were approved on January 15, 1999.

“A Day at The Opera Ranch” was held once more at the San Juan Ranch and was very successful. Close to 2,000 people attended and enjoyed the children’s programs and partook of the different guilds’ food booths.

A total of 5,473 children and sponsors attended the Youth Night performances of Carmen, Countess Maritza, and Idomeneo. The Pueblo Opera Program’s number of 845 was included in the total.

The Guilds, Inc. Board approved underwriting expenses for President-Elect, Sue Noel and half of Jill Hardy’s expense to attend the first joint OGI-Opera America Conference in Vancouver, British Columbia.

With Guilds’ Liaison, Jill Hardy assisting with the Guilds, Inc. newsletter in-house, a total of $600 per issue was saved. It was a very well received project.

The Opera Mosaic program was again very well received. A total of 21,803 students attended performances in 71 schools. Selections from Carmen and Countess Maritza were presented by Heather Alvarez, Laura Thomas, Deneile Panas, Kent Wall, Sam Shepperson, Paul Bower, Brady McElligott, and Natalia Efremova, piano.

The local guilds served a valuable part in contacting schools, providing accurate directions, and welcoming the artists.

In May, Guilds, Inc. members voted unanimously to combine the Apprentice Tour program and the Mosaic.

The preview buffet-lecture evenings were well attended and highly successful. A total of 5,359 guests were served. The picnics were eliminated, which may have helped with the number attending the buffets. Net profit from this activity was $71,915.

Delores Thomas continued to work in her capacity as Arts and Advocacy chair. She attended the 1999 Legislative Session where she appeared on behalf of The Santa Fe Opera in opposing to Gross Receipts Taxes and Compensation Taxes. However, no bill on this legislation was introduced.

Some highlights from the different guilds’ activities for 1999 were as follows:

The Albuquerque Guild held a “Spring Fashion Show” on March 27 that was a “smashing success" at the Tanoan Country Club. Gee Loretta Fashions with the guild models were well received. Numerous door prizes delighted guests in attendance. The show received coverage in the Albuquerque Journal.

A hugely successful membership party was held on September 12 honoring Marilyn Tyler for her many years of volunteer work with the Opera Mosaic. Richard Gaddes, Santa Fe Opera General Director, attended.

The Opera Mosaic, sponsored by Northern Community College, in Española, entertained about 600 local school children.

The Española Opera Guild’s famous Frito pies sold out by 12:30 at Opera Day at the Ranch.

Seventy -two members of the Albuquerque Guild attended a performance of Carmen. Thirty-five tail-gaiters from the Española Guild also attended a performance of that opera.

The Los Alamos Guild put on a fashion show spearheaded by long-time member, Bernice Storm, at the home of Anna Casperson. Fashion apparel from Ule’s in Santa Fe was modeled by guild members. Guest model from the Taos Opera Guild was President Sadie Knight. Los Alamos hosted the Apprentice Artists Party at Fuller Lodge. The venue, as well as the entertainment was enjoyed by all.

The Santa Fe Opera’s “Hearts of Gold” Valentine event was highly successful with Andean flute music provided by Mario Reynolds and music for dancing by “Shaboom.” An auction contributed to the total profit of $16,233.

Also successful was the event held at Rancho Encantado called “Denims and Dancing” in May.

The Rio Grande Opera Guild based in Rio Rancho was newly organized with 64 members signing up. They held a successful fashion show; participated in the Opera Mosaic Program and at “A Day at the Opera Ranch”, and provided volunteers for the Preview Dinners. For their first year, the organization donated $6,076.15 to Guilds, Inc. for The Santa Fe Opera.

The Roswell Guild was active under the leadership of Nancie Dominic.

The Taos Opera Guild’s annual Christmas Party was held at the home of former Ambassador and Mrs. Bill Eagleton. Members and guests enjoyed cocktails, hors d’oeuvres and dinner in this spacious residence. Entertainment was provided by the Vito y Alan trio, and guild member Ric De Stefano played Christmas carols for the finale sing-a-long. About 75 people attended.

Guild board members met at Taos Plaza on December 18 to light the farolito candles provided by the Town of Taos. This has become an annual activity of the guild, which volunteers as a civic service to the town. After lighting the 200 plus candles, the group enjoyed posolé and chile at the home of board members Felix and Alyce Trujillo.

A Navajo rug donated to the Guild by guild member, Ray Trotter, owner of a shop in Ranchos de Taos, was sold for $200.

250 school children (and approximately 15 teachers) enjoyed the Opera Mosaic at the Enos Garcia Elementary School gymnasium on March 25. That same afternoon, 75 students and teachers enjoyed the program at the Taos Christian Academy. The event was covered by the Taos News with photos and an article.

There were 18 children and adults on a bus to the June 29 Youth Opera performance of Carmen and a total of 47 attended the July 13 production of Idomeneo as a result of an article in the “Tempo” section of the Taos News. The Taos Guild financed the buses for the children at a cost this year of $1,200. Faust Transportation agreed to reduce their fee to $1,000. A letter of appreciation was sent to the company.

The Opening Night performance of Countess Maritza was attended by 42 Taos guild members and guests. A bus was chartered and dinner was enjoyed at Anthony’s on the Delta in Española before the opera.

A highly successful BBQ was held at the lovely park at El Monte Lodge owned by guild members Pat and George Shoemacher. Three new memberships were sold. Attending was Jill Hardy, Santa Fe Opera Liaison.

Four preview dinner events were hosted by the Taos Guild. The short-handed crew soldiered on when a terrible cloudburst occurred just when guests were going into the buffet line. Umbrellas were utilized to escort people back and forth to their tables, and, despite a drenching, the spirits of guests remained high.

Tri-States Guild remained active with a total of 43 members. Their main fund-raising activity was their annual opera tour. This trip for guild members and guests allowed them to enjoy performances of Countess Maritza and Carmen, plus a weekend of shopping and dining in Santa Fe. The Guild was able to contribute $4,950.00 to Guilds, Inc.

Sue Noel of the Española Guild took over as presiding officer for Joyce Remke in January 1999 and she attended the OVI Conference in Vancouver, B.C. Delores Thomas, Arts Advocacy Chair for Guilds, Inc., spent much time and energy to help successfully fight off the attack on Non-Profit Exemption on Gross Receipt Taxes and Compensating Taxes at the 1999 session of the NM State Legislature. Guilds, Inc. had a strong voice for its cause, and Delores was highly commended.

The Development Committee continued to meet with community members in Las Vegas to organize a guild in that city. The committee also traveled to Durango to investigate the possibility of establishing a 4-Corners Guild with Farmington and the other corner communities.

The By-Laws of the Guilds of the Santa Fe Opera, Inc. were revised and published on January 15, 1999. These were included in that year’s annual report.

Total membership, 1998 -99: 744
Guilds’ contributions: $99,158 was given to The Santa Fe Opera for the year.
Net profits for the preview dinners for 1999 were $71,915, an increase over 1998 by more than $6,000. Picnic suppers were eliminated

Continue to 1999–2002