Opera Volunteers International is a nonprofit volunteer organization that advocates for and supports volunteerism in opera throughout North America and beyond.

OVI works to connect individuals and local opera support organizations so that successful ideas and projects are championed, publicized and shared among our members.  Through donations and fundraising, OVI has been able to offer matching grants to member groups for projects involving volunteers.  Non-monetary awards – Partners in Excellence and Projects of Special Merit – recognize outstanding contributions and efforts in support of opera.

In addition, OVI is an Official Certifying Organization for the President’s Volunteer Service Award, an initiative of the President’s Council on Service and Civic Participation.

Opera Volunteers International began as Opera Guilds International in the early 1970’s, when a farsighted president of the Seattle Opera Guild found her guild struggling with growing pains. Her conversations and communications with other groups serving other opera companies made her realize the need for a way to share information and ideas.

Its many and varied programs and events have furthered its mission to stimulate interest and support of opera through volunteerism, and to connect support groups, individual volunteers, donors, company staff and everyone interested in supporting and expanding the future of opera.

OVI maintains close ties to OPERA America, partnering with them for joint conferences while maintaining its own not-for-profit, tax exempt status.

Board of Directors for 2018-2019

Susan Malott
San Francisco, CA
Vice President Administration
Sandra Pelfrey
Amarillo, TX
Vice President Communications
Sarah Duvall
Vancouver, WA
Vice President Membership
Vikie Hariton
Tucson, AZ
Vice President Outreach
Anne Pennington
Brentwood, TN
Vice President Marketing
Julie Todaro
Plantation, FL
Phyllis Driver
Knoxville, TN
Sheila McNeill
Omaha, NE
Rhonda Sweeney
Houston, TX
Immediate Past President
Rhonda Sweeney
Houston, TX


Database Management
Anne Prokopovych
Calabasas, CA
Mary Earl
Signal Mtn, TN
Rick Greenman
Darien, IL
Partners in Excellence
Sarajane King
Cincinnati, OH
Projects of Special Merit
Sandra Pelfrey
Amarillo, TX
Public Relations
Barbara Eckel
Evanston, IL
Social Media
Mary Svela
Gladstone, OR


Great Lakes
Diane Adamson-Brdar
Bracebridge, ON, Canada
Gulf Region
James (Jim) Jolly
Tuscaloosa, AL
North Central
Mary McDiarmid
Minneapolis, MN
Anastasia Johnson
Buffalo, NY
Gayle Charlesworth
Seattle, WA
Laurie Knudsen
Charlotte, NC
South Central
Jerry Bohannon
Katy, TX
Judy Vander Heide
Ogden, UT

Board members may be reached by email at memberservices@operavolunteers.org.

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