Since 1994-95, Opera Volunteers International has honored over 100 individuals and support groups who have made outstanding contributions to their opera companies and to their communities. Partners in Excellence recognition also may be extended to support groups to recognize an important milestone or achievement.  Recipients of a Partners in Excellence Award are recognized for their achievements at a meeting of the membership at an OVI Conference, and in OVI’s various publications.

Each Partner in Excellence has been recommended, in writing, by the president of an OVI member Support Group; two additional letters of recommendation are required from senior, appropriate, involved persons who are familiar with the individual or organization being nominated (eg, opera company general director or board president, music school department head, school district superintendent.) Nomination forms follow the listing of this year’s award recipients.  Applications for 2022 are now closed.

2021 Partners in Excellence Awardees


William Everett, Kansas City Lyric Opera Guild

William was chosen for nomination for his enthusiastic commitment to the Adult Education Programs of Kansas City Lyric Opera over many years. He has brought his skills and experience as a researcher, scholar and teacher at University of Missouri Kansas City to create, develop and present multiple educational programs. He chaired the award winning At Ease with Opera program, chaired the Opera Preview Committee, recruiting presenters, as well as being a presenter himself for both. Recently during the pandemic William was the emcee for Opera in Eight Parts, an online series featuring opera arias and visual representation of art works from the Nelson Atkins Museum of Art. He is described as a volunteer who brings joy to whatever he does and whoever he meets. If being a partner and bringing excellence are the criteria for receiving the recognition of the Partners in Excellence award, William is well qualified to be a recipient


Carla M. Thorpe, Lyric Opera of Chicago Chapters Executive Board

Carla has been a long time mainstay of the Hinsdale Chapter of Lyric Opera of Chicago. She has served as Membership Chair, Treasurer, VP of Programs, and Past President and now newly re- elected as President. While all of those contributions are noteworthy, this nomination is for her role in organizing the Opera Lovers Lecture Corps after Lyric Opera of Chicago disbanded its Education Corps in 2015. Carla was an organizer of the new Corps and still continues to coordinate its activities. Each year seven or eight lecturers in the Opera Lovers Lecture Corps bring opera to as many as 16 audiences in the various Chapters, at public libraries and senior communities. The lecture programs continued to be offered online during the pandemic. She saw the need for Opera educationoutreach and met it for the benefit of the community, Lyric Opera of Chicago and its member chapters. Carla has distinguished herself as a successful leader and innovator, both attributes of a valued Partner in Excellence.

Sara Young, Opera Omaha Guild

Sara is celebrating 55 years as an Opera Omaha Guild member. As a music teacher, she always included opera as a part of her curriculum, so becoming an active Guild Board member for Omaha Opera was an extension of her vocation. Over the years Sara has enjoyed and supported the many special events of Opera Omaha Guild. She was the first Cotillion Liaison and remained so for 26 years. The Cotillion project for sixth grade children remains a major fundraiser for the Guild. The annual Victorian Tea is another area where Sara has contributed her talents and time for many years. As a member of the nominating committee she has been valuable in keeping the board current and operating. A willingness to volunteer for the opera is part of Sara’s personality. Her love for the work of Opera Omaha and the Guild and what it does for the Omaha Community have made Arts in the entire community valued and appreciated.

Nomination Forms

The application period for 2022 awards is now closed.

Click here for the Partners in Excellence Nomination Forms for 2022.

Partners in Excellence Archive

2020 Partners in Excellence

Click here for a pdf list of PIE awardees since 1995