If you’ve been to any of the League’s numerous events you’ve probably noticed the whirlwind of smiles, welcomes, and precision that emanates from Board Member Cheryl Dowden. She assigns volunteers to work the Boutique, and you will see her at the greeting desk for Master Classes and Musicales. She also is the Menu Manager of the Cast Dinners, contacts volunteers to bring food, and greets and records the number of guests at the event. (NOTE: if you’ve never participated in a Cast Dinner, you’re missing out on one of the most amazing opportunities we offer our members).
As we sat down to talk one day recently my first question to her was: If you could have any super power, what would you choose? Her answer came without hesitation:
“I would want the skill of moving people beyond their own personal opinions and agendas to define issues and come to constructive conclusions and move forward as a cohesive force.” That was an answer that characterizes Cheryl’s approach to the many League activities she supports so ably.
Cheryl is a woman whose interest in collaboration and conciliation was born in working for a labor union and bringing union members and management together for the common good. Later in her career, Cheryl managed the volunteer operations at the American Red Cross of Los Angeles, where at one point 20,000 people served in a variety of roles, from leadership to clerical jobs.
This passion for moving forces together for the better can even be found as an undertone of her grand attraction to opera. When asked if she’d like to be up on the stage as a diva, her response was a vehement hoot!
“I’m infinitely curious about how they make things happen on the stage. I creep around at the Cast Dinners or when L A Opera technical director Jeff Kleeman gives his talks and am always fascinated by how they make set pieces move. And do you know how many operas I’ve directed in my head?!”
Cheryl, I hope that the creative team at LA Opera is listening. We would love to see a production alight with your passion, fire and wit!
.....Interview by Thomas Shepard