Tuesday, March 22, 2016

Gala funds vital community programs

Join Seattle Opera this April for a black-tie gala featuring Greer Grimsley, star of Seattle Opera’s famous Ring cycle and title character in the company’s upcoming Flying Dutchman. Gala attendees can share their experience on social media using the hashtag #SOCelebrate.

"Expect an elegant evening and lots of fun,” said Moya Vazquez, gala committee co-chair and Seattle Opera board member. “Most importantly, the festivities will support programs that create more equitable and accessible arts opportunities for everyone in our community.”

Seattle Opera continues to increase access to the arts by providing admission-free and subsidized programs throughout Washington State, sharing the power of music, theater, and storytelling. Over the past five years, the number of people Seattle Opera has served through its engagement programs has increased threefold. Funding from the gala will help the company continue on this path.

Seattle Opera's 2016 Frost Fest (offered admission-free for youth). Photo by Philip Newton 
"Seattle Opera should reflect our region; it should be the proverbial fire around which we share our stories,” said Director of Education & Community Engagement Barbara Lynne Jamison. “We must also be able to serve those in need, because we know that many people don’t have opportunities to make and experience art.”

Last season, with the help of incredible donors, the company served 74,689 students, adults and seniors with educational arts programming, up from 63,116 Washingtonians in the 2013/14 season. Just one of many examples includes “Artful Aging” programs designed for retirement and community centers, as well as residencies in schools where children can create their own operas. Last year, Seattle Opera served 15,352 students. More than a third of these students attend federally identified low-income schools. Due to generous donations and events like the Gala featuring Greer Grimsley, the company is able to provide performances, residencies, and other fun offerings to these underserved schools free of charge.

Seattle Opera offers admission-free and subsidized programs for people of all ages, from toddlers to seniors.
Photo by Philip Newton 
"We are so grateful for the support we receive at events such as the Gala, and from the generosity of donors all year long,” said Linda Kitchen, gala committee co-chair, opera singer, and wife of General Director Aidan Lang. “We hope the curious and generous minds of Seattle will join us on April 16, and help share this special art form that we love.”

Attendees will enjoy live music by the Dudley Manlove Quartet, in addition to Greer Grimsley and other special guests. Richard Hartlage of Land Morphology will create stunning towers of greenery, which will complement floral décor by Loves Me Flowers. A delicious feast provided by Kaspars Special Events & Catering will include a salad course, with three entrée options, and a warm banana cake with chocolate truffle and caramel sauce for dessert. Wine is generously donated by For a Song.

Seattle Opera prepares to perform Our Earth with a student chorus at Blackwell Elementary. Photo by  Brandon Patoc 

The live and silent auctions will feature exciting travel and exclusive experiences, including a $5,000 gift certificate to Seattle’s premier jeweler Turgeon Raine, as well as the chance to enjoy an opera from the wings while observing our stage manager in action. Fine dining experiences include a tour of six Tom Douglas Restaurants where delicious bites and drinks will be served at each stop. Attendees can also bid on exquisite wines, including a rare 2005 Imperial (6L) Château Suduiraut Sauternes (perfect for a 150-200 person wedding); a “The Lafite Spirit,” based on a rich tradition rooted in the Bordeaux soil; a 1982 Jeroboam of Château Lafite Rothschild, which has received a rating of 100 from Robert Parker, Jr; as well as a six-bottle vertical of Cabernet Sauvignon (2002-2007) from Quilceda Creek Vintners—representing some of the best wine that Washington has to offer. Michael Davis of Chicago-based Hart Davis Hart Wine Co. will serve as auctioneer. The silent auction will be available online to the general public on March 30. Anyone can bid, not just guests of the Gala.

To learn more about the Gala and to RSVP, visit our Gala Facebook event page or seattleopera.org/gala. You can also call Donor Services at 206.389.7669

"For many of my students and their families, money and food alone are tight, let alone opportunities to experience the arts with true artists. Seattle Opera's performance at our school presented these students with a world they had never known before. The brains and hearts of nearly 600 students were opened. Since then, we've been listening to a variety of literature and learning about the composers because the kids wanted more opera. This is huge." - Carri Rose, teacher


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