From Supporting Role to Lead

I. A. O'Shaughnessy writes to Mrs. Raymond G. Hansen, President: "Dear Mrs. Hansen - As I mentioned in our telephone conversation on August 4, 1971, I am happy to pay the bill for the dinners for the fundraising event of the St. Paul Opera Association Women's Guild, the Candlelight Dinner, on Oct. 16, 1971 at the Hilton Hotel." Over 500 people attend with a 40-piece orchestra, 20 ballet dancers, the Apollo Club chorus, and three opera singers. The event nets $23,000. Mr. O'Shaughnessy generously underwrote the cost of the dinners from 1965 to 1973.

Concert and Master Class
Mr. and Mrs. 0 ' Shaughnessy, june Mahood and Leo Kopps, Director of St. Paul Civic Opera

Mrs. George McDougall (Alice) holding a gold dipped rose at lOth Candlelight Dinner with Betty and John LeVin. A red rose at every seat at the Candlelight Dinner is a tradition.
Mrs. I. A. O' Shaughnessy (Blanche) and Mrs. Robert Mahood Oune) admire the original Candelabra provided by Danny O'Neill of Nakashian O'Neill.
Susie Brixius and Oliva Bloomberg admire the handpainted bunnies used as centerpieces at the Spring Benefit.

Marnie Westerback, community activist and professional volunteer becomes President of TCOG
Arleen Carlson; June Johnson, Chairman; Helen Quinn; and Elsie Stephens show off the flowers for the spring fundraiser, "Dapper Divas and Divos."

1972 - The Women's Opera Guild annual report lists 1,000 members with 75 Board members. They purchase the entire house for opening nights at a cost of $10,500, and accept responsibility for season ticket sales. Other activities include a $200 scholarship, a Gerard Souzay concert and master class, a high school choir festival, "Opera Day" (sponsored with the Schubert Club), and the first " Party in Pink" event, named after Sally Ordway's social event held in 1954.

1973 - St. Paul hosts the second Opera Guilds International Conference in June for 105 opera guilds from the United States, Canada, Europe and Australia.

1975 - After the Metropolitan Opera performed at Northrup Auditorium, the Guild decides to introduce Minnesota students to world-class professional opera singers. June Johnson suggests a spring benefit to raise funds to hire professional singers from the Met in New York and forms an Artists- In-Residence Quartet to tour Minnesota high schools. The quartet tours six weeks each year through the 70's and '80's, reaching thousands of students at an average of 45 schools annually. June chaired the "Dapper Divas and Divos Benefit" for 23 years.

1975 to 1985 - The Five-College Interim Opera Project is originated and funded by the Guild. It is an accredited performance and training course teaching all aspects of opera production to students from St. Catherine's, St. Thomas, Hamline, Macalester and Augsburg Colleges. The Candlelight Dinner funds the annual cost of $10,000.

1977 - Twin Cities Opera Guild, Inc. (TCOG) is officially incorporated as a 501 c3 charitable, educational organization. The current logo is designed. TCOG is 100% volunteer.

1977 to 1978 - TCOG sponsors tours to Chicago, New York, and Santa Fe. These tours continue today to opera capitals of the U.S. and Europe including Vienna, Milan, Paris, and many other cities.

The Guild sponsors breakfasts for the Metropolitan Opera. Irma Wachtler is hostess.