OLLA News & Events

Attention: We Are Now Boarding the Opera League...

New Board Members

Attention: We Are Now Boarding the Opera League...

By Tom Lady

Most species choose spring as the time of renewal. Your friendly neighborhood Opera League? We prefer July, right smack in the dead of summer when the heat is triple-digit intense and the parched earth starts to crack. Heck, it's just one more reason to stay indoors and enjoy ice-cold refreshments, right?

That's what we did on Sunday, July 10, at the residence of League secretary Gayle Kirschbaum to welcome ten incoming members of the board.

Editte Alsen
Editte is an attorney with her own firm, specializing in defending employers and insurance companies, with an emphasis on workers compensation and related issues. She gives her husband Aris Hovsepian credit for introducing her to Plácido Domingo and opera in 1988; they became season subscribers soon after. Her hobbies include gardening, painting and studying French. She volunteers at the Shop at the Opera and cast dinners.

Shell Amega
Shell has been Vice President of Communications at the California Science Center Foundation for 16 years.
Among her challenging and wonderful opportunities was managing international media for the Space Shuttle Endeavour’s journey through the streets of Los Angeles to the Science Center. She recently completed directing a similar effort, Mission 26: ET Comes Home, the last remaining flight-qualified External Tank, which traveled from New Orleans by barge through the Panama Canal to Marina del Rey on its way through downtown LA and, finally, to the Science Center. When she’s not working, she enjoys opera, tai chi, dancing and gardening. She credits League member Delores Kerr for introducing her to opera and to AALAO. She hopes to support Musicales and looks forward to continuing as a contributing writer for BRAVO and AALAO Board member.

Rebecca Bowne
Rebecca’s professional career included federal lobbyist for Kaiser Permanente and CAN Insurance, VP of hospital administration for the University of Chicago Hospitals, Good Samaritan Portland, OR and Children’s in San Diego. Since her retirement, she has volunteered extensively: for LA Opera’s executive office, as a League board member for nine years, and founder, president and manager of the Opera Boutique for 11 years. She now is a docent for the Music Center’s Symphonians, is program chair for A Noise Within classical theater, and chairs its board relations. She currently volunteers for cast dinners, artist services and pre-performance introductions. She and her husband Stuart travel extensively.

Patsy Burke
Patsy was born in Denver but has spent most of her time in Los Angeles. She is a retired RN, married to an about-to-be retired attorney. They have four children and eight grandchildren. Patsy’s father took her to see La Bohème, starring Victoria de Los Angeles, at the Shrine Auditorium. She loved both the beautiful venue and that extraordinary opera. She has been a season ticket holder for a number of years, but she has “never enjoyed the operas as much as I have in the past year and a half.” She attributes her newfound passion to her participating in cast dinners, which gives her a feeling of connectedness and a greater understanding of the opera. She also loves being able to sit in on the rehearsals. She claims she has no discernable areas of expertise, but she believes she could be helpful. She is a “tireless, dependable, and cheerful worker, ready, willing and able to learn. “Part of the magic of the Opera League is the opportunity to learn.”

Bill Green
Bill is a retired engineer from Caltech, and spent over 20 years in aerospace at JPA and Caltech, managing teams that processed images and science data from NASA’s planetary exploration spacecraft. He has been an opera fan since he heard the Met broadcasts at home while he was growing up. His areas of expertise include computer engineering, website design and content development, and data base management. His hobbies including writing (published four books), family genealogy, managing his family photo archive, and supporting UCLA’s football and basketball teams through thick and thin. Bill has been involved in the League for 10 years. He served on the Board for five years, was Webmaster; and chaired Communications, Membership, and Overtures. He worked on the Bravo and website redesign, and has been a community educator and volunteer at education and student events. He currently is a Consulting Director. He is involved in his community as a Board Member and Chair of Technology Task Force at Valley Beth Shalom.

Alma Guzman
Alma was born in the Dominican Republic, and then moved to Vienna, Austria, where she went to high school and Arts College. She worked as a photographer until she moved to Los Angeles in 1965. She began a career in banking after her arrival, which she continued for 42 years, retiring as a senior vice president. Alma’s interest in opera began in Vienna, when it was part of her high school curriculum, and she fell in love with it. She enjoys include travel, photography and concert music. Her volunteer work for the League is extensive: Artist Services, Shop at the Opera, cast dinners, Light walking, Education projects (opera Camp, Saturday at the Opera, Community Educators, working with seniors and students at dress rehearsals), and the Pasadena Showcase. Alma also volunteers in LA Opera’s Public Relations department.

Laurel Howat
Laurel is a greater LA native, except for four years in New York. She and husband Jim have lived in Long Beach since they married 27 years ago. She is a group leader for Road Scholar, branch of Elderhostel, Inc., a not-for-profit educational vacation organization. She also works for UC Riverside in their CSI Certificate program. She saw her first opera at the Met, and thought she “had died and gone to heaven.” She began to subscribe to LA Opera in the 1990s. She also began volunteering for the League’s student matinees, other educational events, and cast dinners, which she ran for several years, and Light Walking. She is a past director of the League’s board. Her hobbies include walking, jogging, reading, church activities, and gerontology. She speaks French. She enjoys working with students, seniors and teachers. 

Judith Hyman
Judith has lived in Los Angeles nearly all of her life. She continues to work part-time as a psychologist/analyst with individuals and couples. Her interest in opera began when her parents took her to see Risë Stevens in Carmen” when she was 10. She and her late husband shared a love of music and have had season subscriptions for LA Opera and the LA Phil for many years. She has been a Community Educator, and loves presenting opera programs, especially to children. She would like to devote time to work with local, affluent schools to spark their interest and develop financial support for LA Opera in the future.  

William (Bill) T. Kennedy
Bill and his wife Priscilla moved to Pasadena eight years ago to be near their grandchildren. While they spend three summer months at their home in Massachusetts, where he enjoys sailing, they consider Pasadena their home. Before he retired in 2013, Bill ran the Community Newspaper Division of Dow Jones & Co., for seven years. While he can neither sing nor play an instrument, he has loved opera since attending a Metropolitan Opera performance in New York in the late 1960s. He was a director of the Boston Lyric Opera for 10 years. He plays golf (badly), and enjoys classical music in all forms. He has written feature articles for BRAVO.  He is a former business executive in a marketing field and has substantial non-profit development experience. He is interested in helping the League with finance, marketing and fundraising.

Morency Maxwell
Morency was born in Minnesota but spent time in Los Angeles as a child. She went to the University of Minnesota, and earned a master’s degree in Library Science at USC. She worked as a special librarian for a number of years, and developed a great interest in alternative education. She started a private school, which she closed recently after 36 years. Morency has three daughters. Her interest in opera led her to the UCLA Extension program, where she met Michael Hackett and Sherwin Sloan. She joined the Opera League when the seminars were in the Water and Power building, but she was not able to volunteer while she was working. She would like to help support the seminars and anything the League does related to education. She also enjoys international travel.

Author: Thomas Lady

Categories: BRAVO NewsletterNumber of views: 2986