By Gayle Kirschbaum
“I want to stress the importance of this community…
to be surrounded with the kindness and understanding of our community,
and the richness of art and music that brings us closer together.”
~Mindy Stein, Acceptance Speech, Hemmings Gala, April 2018
It was a special evening when Mindy and Gene Stein accepted the Opera League’s Hemmings Gala Award in April. Their eloquent acceptance speeches touched everyone present, especially Opera League members.
Meantime Alice Coulombe, Opera League co-founder and one of the League’s first presidents, captivated us at our Volunteer Appreciation Event at the end of May. Alice took us on a journey of how it all began, narrating the story of the Opera League’s instrumental role in the founding of LA Opera, thanks in large part to Alice and her League co-founders, Lorraine Saunders and Carol Henry.
As Opera League members, we should be glowing with pride, not just because of our mission to support LA Opera through education, volunteerism and fundraising while serving as a resource for community engagement, but because we have fulfilled that mission so consistently across the decades no matter what else is changing in the world at large.
To wit: During the 2017-18 season, the Opera League clocked in a total of over 26,000 volunteer hours. I cannot thank our volunteers enough for all the time and effort they put in. #volunteersrule
If you’ve never volunteered for the League but have always wondered how you could, I’ve got great news. We are offering ever more opportunities for members to contribute and support community endeavors. I’d like to call out a couple of them.
Our Education team, led by League board member Larry Verdugo, could use your help as we go into 2018-19. LA Opera’s Education and Community Engagement department (EduCom) has increased their programming slate, which means they need our help more than ever. Check out the League calendar at operaleague.org for all the educational programming on tap.
A very special part of our Education team are our Community Educators. These League volunteers are trained by LA Opera to inspire and educate audiences throughout Southern California about the magic and mystery of opera.
There’s also our incredible Gatherings team. League members host gatherings in their homes and other intimate settings, providing camaraderie, education and celebration for all who attend. Our Community Educators bring their multimedia presentations to inspire both the newbie and opera aficionado alike.
What about the Shop at the Opera? Staffed by League volunteers, the Shop offers an array of items in the lobby during LA Opera productions. The success of this flagship venture has only increased over the years, driving ever more support for LA Opera’s educational and community outreach endeavors.
Finally, you have our seminars. It takes a village to make these work. Be sure to check out the interview with Michael Hackett in this issue, as he describes what it takes to prepare for a seminar talk. Speaking of seminars, mark your calendars for our two fall seminars: September 16 and October 14.
If all you do is maintain your Opera League membership and attend some of our functions, that right there is such a valuable contribution and ensures we can continue doing all that we do.
I look forward to this new season with all of you.
P.S. Don’t forget to “Like” the Opera League on Facebook!