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

Part 1, 1964 to 1991
by Virginia L. Starquist, Guilds Historian
first published in 1991

What became a rather involved project — writing the history of the Guilds of the Santa Fe Opera — would never have progressed without the assistance of many people. The Opera staff has been ready to offer suggestions, help dig out information, and keep my spirits up — Tom Morris, Julie Hodtwalker, and Kelly Froebel, in particular I must thank. Along the way I have learned how important and caring Delores Thomas is. Marty Noss had valuable ideas, and numerous Guild representatives have been faithful in forwarding reams of material to the Archives. Juanita Sena reminisced about early endeavors, in particular her years of concern with the Santa Fe Guild’s education program, and Anke Kempter Bunkin, the second president (and only 4-term president) of Guild, Inc. shared interesting tidbits from those early days, and solved puzzles. Jane King Hardeman, who was super-active in the Education-Youth Opera-POP programs in the 1970’s, visited me, and we enjoyed lively discussions, and a critique of work done to date. She also delivered four cartons of beautifully organized memorabilia from those years, written reports, as well as many outstanding photographs donated to her program by Mimi Forsyth of Santa Fe. I have promised her a portion of our file cabinets to be labeled “The Jane King Memorial Collection!”

Three who kindly searched the manuscript for errors and omissions, and made welcome suggestions, are Shirley Genther, Delores Thomas, and Julie Hodtwalker. Stephanie Wiley of J & S Secretarial Services in Taos expertly sought perfection in typing this history, and further, generously donated time and materials because, she says, she enjoyed learning about our Guilds! Printing of the work by Piñon Press of Santa Fe was sponsored by The Guilds of the Santa Fe Opera, Inc. My great appreciation and thanks are extended to all of these.

From 1964 to the present time, a wealth of material related to the Guilds of the Santa Fe Opera has accumulated in the Archives at the Opera Ranch. It seems time to arrange the pages and tell our story — the tale is exciting, and invites respect.

The structure of the organization and its progress are best reflected in the minutes of the regular meetings. Without too much detail, its development will be chronicled in terms of the high points; the seeker of argument and further edification is referred to the copious files on hand.

Our two main objectives: Education and Fund-Raising will be described in individual sections of this history — in those areas so much effort and love have been expended, they should be remembered.

Finally, an Appendix will tabulate yearly rosters of Officers, a tally of Youth Operas presented, more details of that program, and summations of individual guilds’ duration, and yearly donations of Guilds, Inc.

Continue to 1964: The Beginning