Gatherings provide a wonderful cost-free opportunity for Leaguers to learn about the upcoming operas and events while meeting fellow League members from their area in a casual and welcoming setting.
Gathering hosts use these events to touch base with membership, distribute materials and reminders, draw in potential members and field questions and concerns. Like free schwag? Who doesn't! That's why Gatherings often conclude with a raffle of opera books, CDs and DVDs.
Here is a summary of the current Gatherings and their leaders. Opera League members are welcome at any Gathering in any region. Be sure to RSVP to the Gathering leads --- and bring a potluck snack.
San Gabriel Region
Michael Sholer hosts this somewhat raucous group of opera friends who really enjoy each other’s company. A potluck dinner accompanies each Gathering at the La Cañada home of Jack & Barbara Dawson.
Beverly Hills offers a Sunday brunch, so that attendees can make it to matinee performances. Co-Hostesses Anne Sullivan and Mimi Trotter have been known to waylay singers from current LA Opera productions as well as soprano Carol Neblett to address audiences at various lovely homes.
Ann Anderson and Ron Gordon host the Monday night party in the Santa Clarita Region. Ron says “We have to ring a bell to get them to stop socializing and come to the lecture. And they love the lectures, too. We even go as small groups to the [opera at] the movies. “
San Fernando Valley
Hostess Regina Merwin says, “We have a loyal and vocal core group that’s been coming forever. We cover two operas per gathering, and we love just sitting around talking and eating. Lately we’ve added a drawing for a door prize.”
The popular Westside Region is co-hosted by Monica Whitaker and Chuck Bragg. Last season’s highlight was an appearance by Lee Holdridge, the composer of LA Opera’s new work, Dulce Rosa, and his wife Elisa. They were interviewed by our speakers at the home of Joan Bram.
Lorna Blancaflor and Sue Fractman host dedicated regulars in different homes on selected Sunday afternoons. Two operas are showcased at each get-together, as well as other operatic goings-on around the O.C.
There is an ongoing discussion about merging this region's gatherings with Beverly Hills' as they are neighboring cities. The coming seasons should bring changes that will benefit League members!
South Bay Region
Adam Parker recently joined Ifang (ee-fong) Hsieh to co-organize the events in South Bay. Gatherings have been held across the region, at venues as north as Playa Vista and as south as Palos Verdes. Every gathering starts with a fun Q&A session that introduces the speakers to the guests.