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January Matching Grants Applications Closed

by Barb E on November 17, 2015


OVI is no longer accepting applications for the January Matching Grants program. If your member opera support group was unable to submit a proposal in time, fear not.  Applications will again be accepted for the March 15 deadline. Only member groups are eligible for Matching Grant awards of up to $2,000 to assist in developing and expanding programs that recruit, develop, or train volunteers.

Guidelines for grant eligibility and application materials can be found under Grants and Awards on this website. Mary Earl, Director of Grants, can provide more information and guidance. Reach her at


March 15 is also the deadline to submit applications for two recognition awards: Projects of Special Merit and Partners in Excellence.  Projects of Special Merit celebrates your group’s successful project, shares it with the opera volunteer community and receives recognition for a successful volunteer-conceived and volunteer-executed project.  Member groups likewise are encouraged to recognize an individual who has given outstanding volunteer service to opera with a Partners in Excellence award. This award can also recognize a group milestone or accomplishment.  More information can be found under Grants and Awards.

Registration continues for the 2016 Opera Conference on May 18 through May 21.  OVI will again join Opera America in fascinating and beautiful Montreal.  Register for the entire conference or just a OVI weekend special.  See the OA website for scheduling and registrations details for Opera Volunteers International members.



by Barb E on October 24, 2015


Screen Shot 2015-10-24 at 8.20.10 AM8This year’s National Opera Week, which featured David Hyde Pierce as Honorary Chairman, was the biggest yet! More than 200 organizations and individuals from 41 states and provinces hosted 190 Opera Week events, while many others attended Opera Week offerings and joined online discussions using #OperaWeek on Facebook and on Twitter. In addition, individuals from more than 20 states sent 200 letters to congressional representatives on October 29 as part of Opera Advocacy Day. Mark your calendar for next year’s National Opera Week, which will take place from Friday, October 28 through Sunday, November 6, 2016.



by Barb E on August 17, 2015

Choices, choices…As with every Opera America/Opera Volunteers International conference, this year’s was a candy store of events and workshops: Cinderella at Washington National Opera, New Works Sampler at Wolf Trap, panels on fundraising, management and more, and plenty of chances to network. Brooks Boeke, Manager of Friends of the Kennedy Center; Marsha LeBoeuf, Costume Director for Washington National Opera; and Christopher Tombrello, President of Opera Omaha Craftsman’s Guild, gave an enlightening presentation on how they have successfully integrated volunteers into their respective companies.


An important part of any OVI conference is recognizing volunteer efforts – support group projects, extraordinary volunteers and guild milestones along with the recipients of this year’s matching grants were all introduced and applauded at the Awards Dinner. See details of OVI’s most recent awardees by searching the “Grants and Awards” pull-down menu on this website.



by Barb E on July 13, 2015

October 15-18, 2015UPVLZZZTZ5X7XDC3

OVI’s getting busy for Salt Lake City.  We’re looking forward to exploring the capitol of Utah from an opera perspective.  Nestled between mountains and the Great Salt Lake, beautiful Salt Lake City supports a vibrant cultural scene.  Come join us as we get just a sample.

We begin on Thursday evening with a lavish welcome reception organized by Ogden Opera Guild in a splendid private home.  We’ll meet Utah Opera supporters and learn about the opera scene in the SLC area.

Friday’s full schedule begins with a meeting of the OVI board in the Capitol Room of the Capital Theater, the fabulous opera house across the street from our Hotel Monaco base.  At the close of the meeting, Utah Opera Artistic Director Christopher McBeth will speak to us, and singers from the Utah Opera Resident Artist program will give a mini recital.  We’ll follow this with a trip to the Utah Production Studio for a tour of their set, costume and props facility.  Whew!

Freshen up and join us for pre-opera dinner at Caffe Molise, a two-block walk from the opera house.  After the first act of Tosca, we’ll fortify ourselves for the dramatic second act with wine and treats at an intermission reception.

Saturday we can join a morning walking tour of Temple Square.  That leaves plenty of time to explore on your own until we meet again in the Capitol Room to hear from Walter Rudolph, world renowned expert on Jussi Bjorling.  Those staying through Sunday may be able to see and hear the Mormon Tabernacle Choir.

The Early Bird fee for the weekend activities (exclusive of hotel, opera tickets and meals other than the Friday pre-opera dinner) is $125 per person. THE DEADLINE FOR EARLYBIRD REGISTRATION IS SEPTEMBER 15. Download, print and mail the registration form.

For opera tickets, call Shawn at 801-869-9046 and mention OVI.  Hotel Monaco reservations ($149 Thursday, $129 Friday and Saturday) can be made by calling 800-805-1801 and mentioning OVI.


Opera Conference 2015

by Barb E on May 20, 2015


All of us who attended Opera Conference 2015 in Washington, DC, left informed and inspired. Speakers from the opera world and beyond addressed this year’s theme of Increasing Civic Impact.   Were you not able to attend (or you want to revisit some of the energizing and entertaining sessions) follow the links to the youTube videos.

Opera Conference 2015 Opening Session began with a welcome from Francesca Zambello, artistic director of Washington National Opera, Frayda Lindemann, OPERA America’s board chairman, and Rhonda Sweeney, president of OVI.  OPERA America’s president/CEO Marc Scorca presented strategic context for increasing opera’s civic impact. Denyce Graves-Montgomery to share her perspective on the power of opera to change lives and strengthen communities. The session closed with insightful keynote remarks from Roberto Bedoya, executive director, Tucson Pima Arts Council.

Raising the quality of life is a shared goal among city officials, arts leaders and the general public. Hear how these research-based approaches underscore the role for opera in motivating participation in society and enhancing civic life.

The Saturday Keynote session with Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Associate Justice of the Supreme Court of the United States, is not to be missed.  Her remarks were followed by reflections from Roberto Bedoya.


Higher Logic and The Community Roundtable are proud to release The 2015 State of Community Management Report.    Join The Community Roundtable co-founders Rachel Happe and Jim Storer for a review of the report on Wednesday, June 10 at 2:00PM ET. Reserve your spot!



Opera Conference 2015

Washington, DC, May 6-9

Screen Shot 2015-02-22 at 10.14.40 AM10OPERA America’s annual conference is the premier gathering of opera professionals in North America.

  • Gain insight and ideas from within and outside the opera field.
  • Build your network.
  • Foster organizational partnerships.
  • Discover what opera companies are doing to advance the art form.
  • Learn practical skills that will enhance your contribution to the field.
  • Reconnect with your colleagues.

Opera Volunteers International is an important part of the opera industry and OPERA America’s annual conference. Join fellow volunteers and contribute to this year’s dialogue on increasing opera’s civic impact.  This year OVI members can register for an abbreviated conference schedule (including all OVI sessions) for a very affordable reduced price. Click here for OA’s home page.

Matching Grant, Partners in Excellence and Projects of Special Merit Deadlines

Better get busy!  The March 15 deadline for OVI Matching Grants is fast approaching.  Group members in good standing can apply for grants of up to $2,000.   Guidelines and application information can be found on this website under Grants & Awards.

March 15 is also the deadline for Projects of Special Merit and Partners in Excellence applications.

Let the whole opera volunteer community know about your brilliant, clever, wildly successful, inclusive, motivating  project. Go to the Grants & Awards pulldown menu to find more information about the application process.

Partners in Excellence recognizes special individuals, couples, or groups who have made a significant contribution to your group or opera company.  A significant milestone, long and meritorious service, inspirational leadership, and more deserve to be marked.  Application information is found under Grants & Awards.

The Changing Face of VolunteerismScreen Shot 2015-02-20 at 12.21.26 PM12

Check out a terrific white paper, The Changing Face of Volunteerism, by Andy Steggles, President and Chief Customer Officer of Higher Logic.  It can help understand how to engage, motivate and recognize volunteers, and to look at three different roles for volunteers — traditional terms, task, and micro volunteering.”


Autumn Activities

by Barb E on November 7, 2014


Before we get distracted by holiday preparations, vacations or snow shoveling, remember that the deadline for OVI Matching Grants is January 1Matching Grants of up to $2,000 are available to member groups for projects that meet established criteria.   Awards that recognize outstanding projects by member groups or exceptional contributions by groups or individuals are an important part of supporting the people who generously support the opera.  Deadlines for these are March 15.


Dear Opera Colleagues,

National Opera Week 2014 has been a great success, with 150 events offered by nearly 200 organizations in 40 states. From a social media preview night in Minnesota to Joyce DiDonato’s singing of The Star-Spangled Banner before Game 7 of the World Series, opera artists and organizations have worked together to demonstrate the excitement, variety and accessibility of the art form. Over recent months, companies have navigated numerous obstacles to bring exciting performances by outstanding artists to appreciative audiences. Read his entire article.


How will you celebrate National Opera Week 2014?

by Barb E on September 15, 2014

National Opera Week 2014

From Friday, October 24 to Sunday, November 2, you can engage your community, develop new audiences, and celebrate the diversity and excitement of opera.
Some ideas:

  • Promote scheduled performances
  • Offer free public events
  • Hold press conferences
  • Issue season announcements
  • Conduct social media campaigns

Post  news of your activities and events on the Opera Volunteers Facebook page.

For more about Opera Week, click here to visit the Opera America’s National Opera Week page.


Golden Gate Nridge

What a great time we had in San Francisco – the Opera America and Opera Volunteers sessions, the great hotel, the operas (the amazing and historic San Francisco Opera and Opera Parallele) and the OVI, SFO Guild and OA personnel who made it all happen.

OVI’s Sheila McNeill did a splendid job coordinating with OA, and Susan Malott and Belinda Steyer put together the all-time most amazing silent auction and raffle.  The auction and raffle put over $8000 in OVI coffers!!The lucky winner of the raffle is Margaret Genovese, partner in a cultural consulting firm in Toronto.

Friday evening’s diner in the opera house featured the recognition of this year’s volunteer awardees and grant recipients.  Read about them all in the Grants and Awards section of this website.    Photos of all OVI’s events are posted on our facebook page.

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OVI President Rhonda Sweeney and Opera America CEO Marc Scorca

Didn’t get to attend this year’s conference?  See three Opera America sessions on YouTube, including the surprising opening session with Frederica von Stade and Jake Heggie (included below), “Achieving Civic Impact” with Alan Brown and “Re-imagining Impact: the User Experience” with planners and designers including James Buckhouse of Twitter.


San Diego Opera and Issues in the Field: Marc Scorca Defines the New Reality

The startling announcement in March that San Diego Opera planned to cease operations – and the ongoing effort to save the company – sparked an intense national debate about opera’s capacity to thrive in the 21st century.? [click to continue…]


Omaha In The Fall

by Barb E on May 25, 2014

Save the date for this weekend celebration of the arts in Omaha.  The Opera Omaha Guild will welcome the OVI Board and all members on October 16 through 19.  In addition to a performance of “Rigoletto,” they’ve planned visits to an artist studio, a renowned community theater, a history museum, and much more.  Make plans to join us in unexpected Omaha. Omaha Focus Meeting Registration Form



by Barb E on January 13, 2014

OA/OVI Conference logoOVI and Opera America continue their collaboration with this year’s Opera Conference 2014 in the City by the Bay.  Registrants can participate in special OVI events and a full lineup of workshops, performances and gatherings organized by Opera America.  Click on the image above to access the registration page (and special early bird rates for OVI members).view of San Francisco



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