Guilds of the Santa Fe Opera IncOver 50 years of service to The Santa Fe Opera

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Albuquerque Española Valley Los Alamos Santa Fe Taos Guild History

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


Nancie DominicNancie Dominic remained as President.

The Spring Opera Tour of 2006, under the direction of Andrea Fellows Walters, SFO’s Director of Education, was a huge success. The tour was sponsored by Guilds, Inc., the CH Foundation, First Community Bank, Dianne R. Loomis, and New Mexico Arts, a department of the Office of Cultural Affairs, and the National Endowment for the Arts.

Performing a one-act version of Don Pasquale were Martha Guth, soprano, Aaron Blake, tenor, David Giuliano, baritone, and Sam Handley, bass. Kathleen Clawson was stage director and Kirt Pavitt was music director. The tour covered 14 communities in New Mexico, 2 cities in west Texas and Corpus Christi, Texas with over 1,930 adults and 21,380 students attending. Guild members in the different communities greeted the apprentices and the attendees. In many of the locations, the apprentices were guests at after-performance parties.

There were three Youth Night performances in 2006, Carmen, The Magic Flute, and Cinderella. A total of 1,865 youth and 1,075 adults attended, and, with the Pueblo Opera Program attendees, the total was 4,169.

The Santa Fe Guild’s “Duffers and Divas” golf tournament was held in April, and the first ever “Kids Guild” was created; it had 25 members. A kid’s event was added , resulting in the creation of a new guild.

The Santa Fe and Albuquerque Opera Guilds presented programs on opera and music in their individual areas that were received and helped increase their memberships.

Albuquerque Opera Guild presented several “Opera for Fun” lectures, which gave the histories and described the story behind the upcoming season’s presentations.

The Development Committee concentrated on two areas in the southern corner of the state in the 2006-07 year, namely the struggling Tri-State Guild and giving support to the Roswell Guild, Development Committee member, Peggy Love Day, Kyle Gray, SFO Liaison, and Guilds, Inc. President, Nancie Dominic, travelled to Roswell for a membership/concert event. David Wilcox, president of the Roswell Guild hosted a buffet supper and opera talk by Dr. Maurice Gelbert. The group then attended a concert performance of Carmen with the Roswell Symphony, which was followed by a reception. Roswell membership has grown to 33 members.

The Santa Fe Opera commissioned a new production for the Spring Opera Tour. Trinity, composed by John Kennedy from a libretto by Andrea Fellows Walters, was presented by four apprentice singers. About 30 performances were given between March 26 and April 28. Community performances brought in 3,025 attendees and school performances an additional 12,855 for a total attendance of 15,880.

There were three Youth Night performances in 2007: La bohème, Cosi fan tutte, and Platée. A grand total of 3,807 attended, including children and adults.

The Española Opera Guild hosted the Spring Opera Tour performers at a luncheon following their presentation of Trinity. They held a Valentine party on February 11 at the Inn at the Delta, with a silent auction as a fundraiser for SFO.

“Española Night at the Opera” was held on July 28 for the performance of Platée. A tailgate party prior to the opera was enjoyed by 30 guild members.

The Las Vegas Opera Guild had a busy year with parties, pot lucks, and trips to Central City Opera productions in Colorado. A July party was held to celebrate the guild’s 100th member.

The Los Alamos Guild exceeded their pledge by $2,000 and increased their membership to 64. Several members attended the Apprentice Christmas Concert in Santa Fe. A social was held for the Spring Opera Tour apprentices, and the guild made arrangements for their school’s participation in the presentation of Trinity in Santa Fe.

The Santa Fe Opera Guild began an educational outreach program from January to May in members’ homes. As speakers, these included local members of SFOG such as Steve Kutay, Tom Franks, John Webber, and Carol Cyr. While most of the events were open only to members, they were enthusiastically received, and one event in a publicly-accessible location with local author Desirée Mays, who launched the latest volume in her Opera Unveiled series, gained some new guild members and provided additional funds for the guild’s education and outreach program.

Board member John Webber, became editor of the newly instigated “Operagram” which was printed monthly and distributed to all Guilds, Inc. members.

Richard Gaddes, Santa Fe Opera Director, made a surprise appearance at the Santa Fe Guild’s Valentine Party, much to the delight of those in attendance. However, the attendance was low and the Valentine Party was discontinued in subsequent years.

Once again, the Santa Fe Guild’s “Duffers and Divas” golf tournament was a big success, netting more than $20,000. The Santa Fe Opera Kids Guild was once more a popular presence.

The Santa Fe Guild hosted Opening Night’s Preview Dinner and was able to double their commitment to Guilds, Inc. The Guild’s annual meeting was held at the Opera Ranch house lounge with 80 attending. Education Chair, Joan Behrmann, organized “Stump the Panel” and “Name that Tune” and everyone enjoyed the games.

The Taos Opera Guild hosted their annual Holiday Gala at the home of President Suzanne Brock and Bob Brock. Attendees were entertained by the Santa Fe Opera Apprentices, accompanied by Kyle Gray, Guilds liaison, and Kirt Pavitt, accompanist.

The Spring Opera Tour went to Taos in April with performances at the Taos Community Auditorium. The Taos Guild hosted a dessert and coffee party at the Kilborn Gallery, following the evening performance.

Forty-four Taos Opera Guild members and their guests took their annual bus tour to Opening Night, with a pre-opera dinner at El Nido in Tesuque. Buses were also provided for three additional operas that season.

The Taos Guild hosted six preview dinners, with six members serving as hosts each evening. Three buses also transported children to the three Youth Night performances, including a large group of youth from Dixon and Embudo.

Taos Guild’s annual fundraiser “Treasured Treasures Sale” earned over $1,000 for the Education and Outreach Programs.

Total members, 2006-2007:
The total Guilds, Inc. membership increased to 723 members. The Las Vegas Guild achieved its goal of 100+ members.
Guilds’ contributions: $113,624.

Ursel AlbersThe President was Ursel Albers of the Las Vegas Opera Guild.

Ursel reported that the year 2007-08 had been very successful due to the efforts of the member guilds. At the annual meeting in September, 2007, she thanked the officers of the Guilds, Inc. Board of Directors for their hours of volunteer work in making the year a success. Ursel also thanked the Las Vegas, Albuquerque, and Taos Guilds for hosting board meetings this year. This encourages local guild members to attend and learn how the organization works in promoting the Santa Fe Opera programs.

Especially singled out for serving in various capacities was John Webber, President-Elect (Santa Fe Opera Guild President). The Santa Fe Guild’s commitment to Guilds, Inc. was increased by $7,500.

The Development Committee continued with efforts to form a guild in Lubbock. Several trips were taken by Nancie Dominic, Development VP, Kyle Gray, Guilds liaison, and Peggy Love Day. Jill Nelson met with the group in Santa Fe in August and agreed to serve as president of a guild there and will work on putting a board together. It is hoped that Tri-State can re-group and organize a guild once more.

The “Opera Insiders” program replaced “Backstage Pass” and was judged to be a great success. Each guild was assigned a Saturday morning for this event and was asked to provide local entertainment; members served as greeters. An average of 75 people attended each Saturday program.

Outstanding students from the Student Produced Opera Program were awarded tickets, including their families, to attend the Youth Nights at the Opera. In Española, the guild held an essay contest and the winners received Youth Night tickets. The essay title was “Why I Would Like to Take My Family to a Night at the Opera.” It was open to ages 5-18.

This year’s Spring Opera Tour singers presented Menotti’s The Telephone for school children beginning on April 4; schools in New Mexico from Taos to Silver City, Carlsbad and Roswell and in El Paso and Lubbock, Texas were included.

The Santa Fe Opera Guild provided monies to support Santa Fe Opera’s “Opera Makes Sense” program for 3-5 year olds.

Thirty-five Preview Dinners were hosted by six of the guilds and about $98,000 was credited to Guilds, Inc. Attendance was great, with guests enjoying the setting of the new Dapples Pavilion (formerly the Cantina) and the menus by Bon Appétit of Santa Fe.

The Española Opera Guild provided discount tickets to their members for Falstaff, The Marriage of Figaro, and Radamisto by reserving at least 15 tickets per opera. As a result of this offer, new guild members were acquired.

Las Vegas guild members enjoyed the Spring Opera Tour at the spectacular Montezuma Castle and hosted a reception for the apprentice artists following the program. Las Vegas continued to be active and many of their staff members attended every meeting of Guilds, Inc.

The Los Alamos Guild reported a total of 54 members, an increase from the previous year. Their members continued to serve as hosts for the five assigned preview dinners and with the Opera Insiders program.

The Santa Fe Guild kept an active schedule with a continuation of the “Member Talks” series on different aspects of opera. These talks were hosted in individual homes and proved to be very popular. The annual “Duffers and Divas Golf Tournament” was held with great success once more, netting about $10,000 for the guild. A grand "Welcome to the Apprentice Singers" party was hosted by guild members Jeanne Wagner and Jim Icken. The guild entertained all 42 of the 2008 apprentice singers and 70 guild members.

Santa Fe and Las Vegas Guilds hosted the Opening Night Dinner at the Dapples Pavilion with a capacity crowd of 160.

Much credit was given to the monthly “Operagram” newsletter published by John Webber, President of the Santa Fe Opera Guild, for an overall increase in Guilds, Inc. membership. The Santa Fe Guild exceeded their pledge of $15,000 to a total of $22,500.

Membership totals, 2007–2008: The total for this year reached 767, with an increased membership in Española, Los Alamos, Las Vegas, Taos, Santa Fe, and the newly organized Roswell Guild reported 30 members.
Guilds’ contributions: Guilds, Inc.’s contribution this year, including assisted program revenues, was $128,959.

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