Thank you for attending the biggest and brightest party of our 40th anniversary season. Thank you for supporting and celebrating 40 years of incredible opera.
Barbara Brenton Sahr
Barbara Brenton Sahr worked with Opera Columbus as a pianist for many years. She continues to impact OC with her musical gifts.
Barry Liss is co-founder and member of Opera Columbus’ largest support group, Impresarios. He has made a major impact on OC.
Bill Boggs is a two-time grammy-winer. The former artistic director at Opera Columbus and current adjunct professor at Capital University received the honors for his role as conductor of the contemporary opera Elmer Gantry. Performed by the Florentine Opera and the Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra, the piece was nominated for three awards and won two: new classical composition and engineered classical recording.
Bill Russell was Opera Columbus’ General Director from 1991-2002. He was critical to the success of OC during that time.
Caroline Inspires Bennett is making her dreams come true as an Inspirational Speaker, Poet, Entrepreneur, Educator, Community Organizer, Storyteller, Singer and #FreeBlackGirlRising! As a native of North Tulsa, Oklahoma, Caroline was raised on the side of Tulsa many consider to be the most underserved and impoverished area within the city limits. She often tells people, “my environment was not an excuse to quit but rather it was a reason to keep going!”
Chad Whittington got his start in the arts industry by working in maintenance and cleaning at the Ohio Theatre to help pay the bills while he was attending Ohio State University. Now, he’s the CEO of the Columbus Association for the Performing Arts. He’s been with the organization for 19 years.
Charlie is a dedicated member on our board of directors. He is an experienced attorney in the area of employment law and litigation generally. Charlie has served as a frequent presenter at national and state conferences on various labor and employment law topics, including presenting for many years at the Ohio State Bar Association’s Midwest Labor Law Conference and on “Litigation Ethics” at the Ohio CLE Institute. He was also a chapter editor for the second and third editions of Employment Discrimination Law.
Christopher Purdy is Classical 101’s early morning host, 7-10 a.m. weekdays. He is host and producer of Front Row Center – Classical 101’s weekly celebration of Opera and more – as well as Music in Mid-Ohio, Concerts at Ohio State, and the Columbus Symphony broadcast series. He is the regular pre-concert speaker for Columbus Symphony performances in the Ohio Theater.
Court Watson treasures collaboration and seek out storytellers who work together to create something bigger than we are individually. He gravitates towards live performance with music, especially opera, musicals, and theater for young audiences. Court is firmly committed to advocating for safe, respectful, inclusive, diverse spaces where we can take creative risks together without harassment or abuse. He currently serves United Scenic Artists, Local 829 membership on the Respectful Workplace Committee as well as the Costume Designers United Best Practices Committee.
David Weaver performed as Scin Opera Columbus’ first opera, Tosca, in December of 1981. He perfomed in leading roles in many of our operas over the 40 years – some as recent as a couple of years ago. David has always been a supporter of OC even during our difficult times. He has a encyclopedic memory of OC’s history and everything opera.
DeMeeshia W. Marshall is from Columbus Ohio. She has been singing and performing since age 5. DeMeeshia graduated with a BM in Vocal Music performance at The Ohio State University. There she studied classical, opera music. DeMeeshia has traveled with Opera Columbus education outreach program where she played the lead role of Cinderella. DeMeeshia is also skilled in other genres such as jazz, gospel, musical theatre etc. DeMeeshia has performed live on TV stations such as The Word Network multiple times. In 2016 she was crowned the Voice of Columbus and aired on NBC 4 news. DeMeeshia plans to one day open her own performing arts center for all ages and spread the love and passion of music.
Donna Collins serves as executive director for both the Ohio Alliance for Arts Education (OAAE) and Ohio Citizens for the Arts (OCA). As a leader in the field of arts education and arts advocacy, Collins has had the opportunity to work with the Kennedy Center Alliance for Arts Education Network (KCAAEN)—most recently, as a member of the Network Leadership Committee and the Advocacy Committee. Collins co-authored the KCAAEN Leadership Kit and worked extensively on the network’s recent restructuring.
Through Doug’s work as an Impresario, he has made a major impact in Columbus Opera. He is a professor of Public Policy and Management at The Ohio State University. Doug was also the founding director of the National Regulatory Research Institute and served in that role from 1978 to 1998.
Doug is the fifth President of The Columbus Foundation, a community foundation serving the central Ohio region since 1943. In 2015, the Foundation awarded more than $176 million in grants to nearly 3,000 charitable organizations in such fields as education, health, social services, community development, urban affairs, and the arts. As of 12/31/15, the Foundation’s assets totaled more than $1.75 billion. Kridler is also an Independent Director and Chair of the Nominating and Fund Governance Committee of Nationwide Mutual Funds, with more than $80 billion in assets under management in an array of over 100 U.S. mutual funds. Additionally, he is a member of the Business Advisory Council of the Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland.
Doug McIntyre is the founder and CEO of Cult Marketing. He founded this insight, strategy and creative firm back in 2004. Doug has always been excited by learning what makes people tick and discovering what drives them to make decisions. His unique process renders an educated, consumer-centic decision that provides his clients with clarity to disrupt their market. This process has helped OC as we work with Cult Marketing to execute our marketing strategies.
Pianist Edward Bak is an assistant professor in the voice area at The Ohio State University School of Music. He was appointed to the full-time tenure-track position in autumn 2014, following ten years’ service as a vocal coach and collaborative pianist in the school. He is highly sought after as a collaborator and appears regularly in concert with established artists and emerging talents, and has been heard in such venues as the Teatro Colón, The Monnaie, The Festival Lanaudiere, The Philips Collection, and Kolarac Hall. He is active as a chamber musician and as such has shared the stage with members of the Boston Symphony Orchestra, The Philadelphia Orchestra, The Cleveland Orchestra, and the Chicago Symphony. He has also worked with great artist teachers like Renata Scotto, Ellen Faull, Shirlee Emmons, Renee Fleming, and John Shirley Quirk.
American operatic baritone Eric McKeever has won consistent praise for his voice of “power and brilliance” (Chicago Tribune) and “considerable flexibility and a communicative presence enhanced by expressive, crystalline diction.” (Opera News)
Eric’s 2020-2021 season includes recording Kamala Sankaram’s Looking at You and Experiments in Opera’s Aqua Net and Funyuns podcast opera, performing Dandini in Opera on Tap’s digital version of La Cenerentola, performing live in Salt Marsh Opera’s outdoor “Music at the Lighthouse” concert, joining Little Opera Theatre of NY in a live-stream of Zemlinksy’s Eine florentische tragödie, and returning to Opera Columbus for Marcello in a new production of La bohème.
Eric is a frequent performer with Opera Columbus having recently appeared as Sharpless (Madama Butterfly), Betto (Gianni Schicchi) and Marcello in 2016’s La bohème.
George Arnold has been an avid supporter of Opera Columbus and our community through his many board service roles. He and his wife, Vanessa, are found out and about at events most nights of the week. Without his cheerful, quiet participation, Opera Columbus would be a lesser organization.
Greg Bryan served OC as our production manager for past seasons. With his contributions, we were able to put on many amazing shows that led to where we are today.
Gretta Goodbottom is a Columbus-based musician and drag artist. Hosting a one of a kind live piano cabaret, Gretta is a force to be reckoned with on the keys. With degrees in Piano Performance and Music composition, her musical skill is unsurpassed, at least by anyone wearing 6″ stilettos and a wig. A member of the West family, Gretta comes from a long lineage of amazing performers, and she just so happens to be the Curator of our Party Series.
Dr. Henry Sauls
Dr. Henry Sauls is one of the original trustees of Opera Columbus. He now serves as the secretary for the American Institute of Music Studies. Classical music has been his avocation since his first piano lesson at age five.
Bill Miller is the current president of our Board of Directors. Outside of OC, he is a partner in KPMG’s Columbus office and a part of the Insurance practice. He has more than 20 years of experience serving life insurance and P&C organizations, from public companies to mutual insurance companies.
Dr. Johanna Destefano
Johanna Destefano moved to Columbus from the San Francisco Bay area for her new job as a professor of linguistics at The Ohio State University. She later joined the OC’s Board of Directors, and immediately began to make an impact on OC. She has been an amazing supporter, leader and contributor.
Justin T. Swain
Justin T. Swain, baritone, serves as an Adjunct Professor of Voice at Ohio University (Athens), owns and operates a thriving music school in North Columbus (Musicologie Lewis Center), and is a graduate of The Ohio State University where he earned his MM and BM in Vocal Performance and MA in Vocal Pedagogy studying with Dr. Scott McCoy and Dr. Robin Rice.
A Columbus native, Mr. Swain has served as Opera Columbus’ Teaching Artist (2018-2020) and was most recently seen playing the roles of Senator Joseph McCarthy, Interrogator, and Estonian Frank in Opera Columbus’ production of Fellow Travelers. Mr. Swain maintains an active performance career in the Central Ohio region having made appearances with the New Albany Symphony Orchestra, McConnell Arts Chamber Orchestra, Opera Project Columbus, Harmony Project Columbus, the Denison University Wind Ensemble, in a variety of productions with the Ohio State University Opera Lyric Theatre, the Ohio State University Wind Ensemble, the Ohio Wesleyan Chamber Ensemble, the Columbus Italian Festival, as well as a myriad of mainstage, education outreach, and chorister roles with Opera Columbus.
Kathleen Kelly is a pianist, conductor, educator, and writer – and like many classical musicians, a recent experimenter with digital content. She is both deeply experienced in the classical vocal canon and engaged in new creation. Her 2021-22 finds her co-starring in Minnesota Opera’s digital premiere of Kamala Sankaram’s INTERSTATE, collaborating in recital with Ryan McKinny and Elena Villalon, and conducting the world premiere of Matt Boehler’s opera FAT PIG, starring activist soprano Tracy Cox. The first woman and first American named as Director of Musical Studies at the Vienna State Opera, Kathleen’s operatic experience is the backbone of her career.
Praised by the Cincinnati Enquirer as “a leader of exceptional musical gifts, who has a clear technique on the podium and an impressive rapport with audiences,” Maestro Kelly Kuo brings a dynamic versatility and nuance to a diverse repertoire, which includes nearly 100 operas and an expansive symphonic repertoire as well. Currently Artistic Director and Conductor of Oregon Mozart Players and Associate Artistic Director of American Lyric Theater, his recent engagements have included productions with Lyric Opera of Chicago, Seattle Opera, Cincinnati Opera, Wolf Trap Opera, Indianapolis Opera, Opera Orlando, and the Janiec Opera Company of the Brevard Music Center, and concerts with the Memphis Symphony Orchestra, Malta Philharmonic Orchestra, Sunriver Music Festival, Reno Chamber Orchestra, Indianapolis Chamber Orchestra, and Ballet Fantastique.
Keyona Willis, recently had the honor of performing Lauretta in Gianni Schicchi with Opera Columbus and Mother in Amahl and the Night Visitors in Marysville. Last spring, Ms. Willis was the soprano soloist in Verdi’s Requiem with Central Ohio Symphony Orchestra and Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony with the Springfield Symphony Orchestra. Ms. Willis also performed Mozart’s Requiem, as the soprano soloist, with Capriccio Columbus and later with the Westerville Symphony Orchestra. Ms. Willis portrayed Mimi in the engaging, musical story telling of Opera Columbus’ La Bohéme Opera on the Edge and was recently seen in New York portraying Alice Ford in Verdi’s Falstaff with Prelude to Performance. She also had the honor of singing a premier work, The Ruby Elzy Story, inspired by David Weaver’s book, Black Diva of the Thirties. Other notable performances include: Donna Anna (Don Giovanni), Vitellia (La Clemenza di Tito), Aida (Elton John and Tim Rice’s Aida), Adolfo (Faramondo), Juliette (Romeo et Juliette), Countess (Le nozze di Figaro), Polly (The Threepenny Opera), Susannah (Tintypes), Monica (The Medium), and Rosa Bud (The Mystery of Edwin Drood). Ms. Willis obtained her Bachelor of Music degree from Otterbein College in Westerville, Ohio and her Master of Music and Doctorate of Musical Arts with a Singing Health Specialization from The Ohio State University. Ms. Willis is a Senior Lecturer of Voice at Otterbein University. Ms. Willis is a proud member of the Actor’s Equity Association and the National Association of Teachers Association.
Montana native Korine Fujiwara is a founding member of the Carpe Diem String Quartet, a devoted and sought-after chamber musician and teacher, and a gifted composer and arranger. Korine began her orchestral career with the Brooklyn Philharmonic and served as a principal player and soloist with the ProMusica Chamber Orchestra of Columbus. She is also a former member of the Columbus Symphony Orchestra, where she held the position of Acting Assistant Principal Second Violin. Korine composed “The Flood”, which premiered at Opera Columbus.
Krista Lively Stauffer
Krista Lively Stauffer, a graduate of Otterbein University’s Theatre Department, is a local professional actor on stage and screen. Some of her favorite stage credits include AVENUE Q (Kate/Lucy), Sunday In the Park with George (Nurse/Harriet/Mrs.) and SHE KILLS MONSTERS (Agnes). She is an Artist Educator/Director with CATCO is Kids. By day, she plays the role of Mom to Micah and Gabriel, and the role of Mrs. to Douglas.
Larry Anderson is an Impresario. With all of his contributions within this group, he has made a major impact on Opera Columbus.
Dr. Lee Shackleford
Lee Shackleford is a committed philanthropist in central Ohio with a tremendous love for the arts. She serves as the board chair for ProMusica Chamber Orchestra and was very involved in supporting our production of The Flood.
Leslie Savoy Burrs has been acclaimed as an award-winning performer, composer and educator. Mr. Burrs was commissioned by NewCourtland Elder Services to write the opera TRANSITIONS: SUNG STORIES. An excerpted live performance of this opera was presented at the 2012 national OPERA America Conference in Philadelphia, PA. In addition Mr. Burrs was invited by OPERA America to be a guest panelist for their Creative Aging seminar presented at the conference. This session demonstrated the unique model Mr. Burrs established to address an effective approach that combines opera, the humanities and community engagement while contributing a new work to the American opera repertoire. A documentary film created by ONI was also presented at the seminar. The documentary highlights Mr. Burrs’ methodology for engaging senior citizens in residential settings through interactive music workshops. Leslie Burrs is also the composer of our upcoming performance of Vanqui.
Lois Allen has been a subscriber and continued supporter of Opera Columbus from the beginning of the company, serving as a trustee and valued sounding board.
Marc A Scorca joined Opera America in 1990 as president and CEO. Since that time, Opera America membership has grown from 120 opera companies to 3,500 organizations and individuals. Marc has greatly impacted Opera Columbus and the opera world.
Marcy Richardson, aka OperaGaga, is an opera singing aerialist known around the world for her iconic work marrying opera, pole, aerial arts, and burlesque. Based in New York, she has appeared as a soloist everywhere from Carnegie Hall and Lincoln Center, to many of NYC’s premiere entertainment spots for nightlife entertainment, including Company XIV, Duane Park, The Slipper Room, DROM, House of Yes, Le Poisson Rouge, Dixon Place, Secret Loft NYC, Sid Gold’s Request Room, Hot Box Girls Vienna & NYC, Spiegelworld, AERA Dance, Cirque Central Entertainment, Virginia Opera, Opera Columbus, LE Miami, and more.
Marilu Faber has been an Opera Columbus trustee for almost 6 seasons. She is an opera lover who frequently travels to see opera across the country. She has served on the executive committee as development chair.
Mary Auch rose to the top local job at PNC Bank about three years ago, following a nearly 30-year career with the Pittsburgh-based bank. While working at PNC Bank, she has left a major impact on Columbus Opera.
Michael Harrison was our first general manager in 1982. He later became the general director of the Baltimore Opera Company in 1988. A company history said, “Harrison’s expertise in the world of theatre and opera led to a decade of unprecedented growth during the 1990’s”.
Soprano Michelle Johnson, a Grand Prize Winner of the Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions where she was described as “a clear audience favorite” (New York Times), has been lavished with praise for her “extraordinary breath control and flawless articulation… Her voice is velvety and pliant – a dulcet dream.” Recent engagements include Ms. Johnson’s debut with Opera Tampa in the title role of Verdi’s Aida, a house and role debut with Chicago Opera Theater as Zemfira in Aleko, a featured soloist performance with Madison Symphony Orchestra, a debut with Waterbury Symphony for their Holiday Pops and a return to Chautauqua to perform Strauss’ Vier letzte Lieder with Chautauqua Symphony Orchestra.
A winner of the 2019 Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions, Miles Mykkanen has garnered recognition on the world’s concert and operatic stages for his “focused, full-voiced tenor” (The New York Times). Highlights of the recent past include performances with the Canadian Opera Company, Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center, Cleveland Orchestra, Metropolitan Opera, Minnesota Opera, New York Philharmonic, Opera Philadelphia, Philadelphia Chamber Music Society, with the symphonies of Detroit, Pittsburgh, and San Antonio, and at the Mostly Mozart, Ravinia, and Tanglewood festivals.
Miriam’s lifelong passion for vocal music and a family tradition of volunteering led her to join the Opera’s support group, the Impresarios, where she has served on the board in many roles over the years, and is currently the president. Her other major volunteer endeavor is The Worthington Thrift Shop, supporting the Columbus Cancers Clinic.
Patty Morrison is our former board president. She is currently the Executive Vice president, Customer Care Shared Services and Chief Information Officer of Cardinal Health, a Fortune 21 health care products and services company dedicated to improving the cost-effectiveness of health care. In this role, Morrison is responsible for the company’s enterprise-wide information technology. She is also responsible for the Customer Contact Centers and Contracts and Pricing.
Peggy Kriha Dye
Peggy Kriha Dye first came to Opera Columbus as the Director of Education. Her development as an artistic and executive leader in Columbus pushed Opera Columbus to produce more accessible and expanded repertoire including the world premiere of The Flood in 2018. She was Opera Columbus’ first female General Director.
Press Southworth was appointed executive director of the Jazz Arts Group (JAG) of Columbus in October 2012. Under his tenure, JAG has regained financial stability and is operating at a sustainable level. He previously served as executive director of Opera Columbus from 2006 to 2011 and during that tenure was president of the Columbus Cultural Leadership Consortium for two years. He helped Opera Columbus eliminate its debt and become fiscally stable.
Ruth Anderson is an Impresario. In this role, she has left an amazing impact on Opera Columbus.
Ryan Speedo Green
Praised by Anthony Tommasini of the New York Times for his “robust voice” and Anne Midgette of The Washington Post as an artist “fully ready for a big career,” bass-baritone Ryan Speedo Green is quickly establishing himself as an artist of international demand at the world’s leading opera houses. Honors and awards include National Grand Finals winner of the 2011 Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions, a 2014 George London Foundation Award, a 2014 Annenberg grant recipient, a 2014 Gerda Lissner Foundation First Prize winner, both the Richard and Sara Tucker Grants from the Richard Tucker Foundation, and a finalist in the Palm Beach Opera Competition.
Sara served Opera Columbus as an accompanist for many years. In this role, she was able to impact OC with her musical gift.
Sheldon Taft is a life trustee for the Columbus Opera. He is a retired lawyer who worked at Vorys, Sater, Seymour and Pease where he specialized in energy law and public utility law. Sheldon has been listed as a reputable lawyer by Martindale-Hubbell.
Susan Ropp is Director of Grants for CAPA, where she manages grants for CAPA, the Columbus Symphony, and Opera Columbus. She was a full-time part of the Opera Columbus staff from 2003-2012, serving as Development Manager, Director of Development, and Assistant Executive Director. She has also worked in development at the YWCA of Columbus and the United Jewish Federation of San Diego County.
Susan is an alumna of Ohio University, with a degree in political science, and pursued postgraduate studies in modern European history at San Diego State University. She was a recipient of the Fellowship for Emerging Women Leaders in Nonprofits, presented by The Academy for Leadership & Governance, and is a graduate of Leadership Columbus’ Signature Program.
Dr. Arthur Bing
Opera Columbus’ Vocal Competition was started by Irma Cooper years before the Bings became involved with OC. Thanks to the generous contribution from the Bing family, this competition was able to survive through difficult times. To honor his contribution, it was renamed the “Cooper-Bing Vocal Competition”.
Wille worked with Michael Harrison in 1983 to develop OC’s Super Slides. At that time, he was a co-owner of a professional photographic lab, and designed a two-projector Kodak Ektachrome system. This system include a simple dissolve unit to project the titles from the light booth at the top of the balcony in the Palace Theatre. After many experiments, they were able to perfect their system, and OC used it until he McNeal Fund at TCF provide the un to buy a digital projector many years later. In 1984, Willie performed in his first opera, Un Ballo, in Maschera where he played the small role of “The Messenger”. In that same year, he performed in Romeo and Juliette, La Boheme and many productions after that. He started working as a volunteer off-stage, and was one of the founders of the Impresarios. Willie was asked to join OC’s Board of Directors in 1988, and has served on it ever since.
Yosry Attia witnessed the birth of Opera Columbus as part of the Columbus Symphony, before it became an independent company forty years ago. He supported the opera company by attending almost all of our opera productions. He also hosted opera singers in his house when OC was to poor to pay hotel costs in the early times. Yosry participated in numerous events in support of the Columbus Opera. Yosry’s involvement with Opera Columbus started around 2005, when his daughter participated in Opera Columbus Academy. She later appeared in six opera productions in the children roles, and posted as Aida for a TV commercial for an OC production.
Bert and Bertie Charles
Bert and Bertie Charles served on our board for many years where they continuously impacted Opera Columbus. During a financially trying time in 2007, Opera Columbus almost had to close its doors; however, due to a generous donation from Bertie after his passing, we were able to continue creating and performing opera.
William B. Conner Jr. Served as the president and CEO of the Columbus Association for the Performing Arts. A passionate and dedicated arts leader, he helped found the Columbus Cultural Leadership Consortium, and prioritized work that benefited the community. Recognizing the neighborhood’s need to revive an historic venue, he championed the renovation of the Lincoln Theatre. Mr. Conner was deeply connected within the Columbus community, and genuinely loved the work he did to support the arts in Columbus.
Sharron and Charles Capen
Charles Capen’s veterinary profession provides a clear example of “paying forward” to future generations of veterinarians seeking careers in research. Sharron Capen was a long time Columbus resident, a graduate of North High school and The Ohio State University. She received her DVM and MS from their College of Veterinary Medicine. The Capen family were keen to support unique artists at Opera Columbus, and their generous donations continue to impact us in our 40th season.
Irma M. Cooper was a champion of young singers in every way. A co-founder of Opera Columbus and professional singer herself, her legacy continues at multiple institutions with programs to support artists. As founder of the American Institute of Musical Studies in Austria, she funded scholarships for students while inspiring a sense of entrepreneurship and independence in them. The Irma Cooper Endowment Fund for International Studies in Music at Ohio State University where she served on the faculty supports international training for young artists. At Opera Columbus, she helped create a vocal competition for young artists, now named the Cooper-Bing Competition. Ms. Cooper was known for her magnetic personality, kindness, and love of opera.
Lois Sherman Cope was a founding board member of Opera Columbus, a position she served in until her passing in 2001. A community leader and volunteer, she was deeply involved with Columbus Museum of Art and the Columbus Symphony in addition to her work with Opera Columbus. Mrs. Chope was a graduate of Bryn Mawr College where she established the Lois Sherman Chope Scholarship Fund, an endowment to provide undergraduate scholarships to support international students.
Lyman L. Leathers was a life-long appreciator of the arts. A graduate of Cornell University and the University of Pennsylvania, he dedicated his career to teaching in his native Ohio at Wesleyan University. He loved sharing his passion for the arts with his friends, students, and community, writing for the Delaware Gazette as music editor. He served as a Trustee of Opera Columbus, in addition to being a member of Chamber Music Columbus.
Ned and Mary Snyder
Ned Snyder was our business manager in 1982. He and Mary, his wife, were both all-around opera lovers.
Paul A. Hickfang was a long time friend of Opera Columbus, The Ohio State University, and the wider Columbus community. A baritone and Fulbright scholar, his relationship with Opera Columbus goes back to the company’s beginnings. A long-time board member, he helped create the Cooper-Bing Competition and often invited colleagues from the Metropolitan Opera to participate as judges. His dedication to nurturing young talent extended to his role as Director of Opera and Voice at The Ohio State University. After retiring, he maintained an active private vocal studio and continued his involvement with the Cooper-Bing Competition.
Phillip J. Jastram
Philip J. Jastram was committed to Opera Columbus in word and deed, serving as a board member at a crucial time in Opera Columbus’ history. His generous contribution to the organization inspired many others to follow, in an influx of support that saved the company from collapse.
Roger Stephens was an impactful figure in the opera scene in Columbus. A singer himself, he served on the faculties of The Ohio State University, University of Nebraska, Washington State University, North Texas University, and Ohio University. A native Ohioan, he served as director for productions with Columbus Light Opera, then continued with the company to direct with Opera Columbus. A lifelong opera aficionado, Roger devoted himself to teaching the next generation of artists.
Rosalie Palius was a life-long educator, an active community member both in Columbus and abroad, and proud Ohian. An elementary school teacher in Ohio, she met Charles Dryden, a professor at The Ohio State University, with whom she relocated to India to assist with education through USAID. A supporter of both the Columbus Symphony and the BalletMet, she was a frequent patron of Opera Columbus. An opera aficionado, Mrs. Palius left a company-saving bequest to Opera Columbus after her passing in 2005. The 2006 “Go Wild for Opera” at the Columbus Zoo was dedicated in her honor.
Ruth and Dick McNeal
Dick McNeal was an OC trustee in the early 1980s. His hard work and support of Opera Columbus left a major impact on us. After his passing, his wife, Ruth McNeal, joined the board where she continued to support OC with her time and talent for several years. Ruth was loved by everyone she met and had friends all over the world. She gave countless hours to every facet of her church. She loved and supported the arts and traveled extensively, especially to her favorite city, Paris. Her accomplishments and generosity are beyond any imagination and too numerous to list.