OVI annually recognizes outstanding new and long-standing projects from member support groups throughout North America.  Endeavors in which volunteers have been intimately involved in the conception and implementation of a project, and which are designed to educate, build audience, support the many facets of a company’s work need to be applauded and shared. So, too, are programs to train volunteers for work with the company and in the community and to attract new members to their support groups.

Applicants can choose between two application formats: a Printable Microsoft Word document to fill out, save, and email in, or an Online Form featuring auto-save, so you can complete your form at your own pace. Your application is automatically forwarded to OVI, with a copy sent to you for your records.

Have a Question for our Project of Special Merit Director? Reach out via email:

Sarajane King: memberservices@operavolunteers.org 

Click here to download a Microsoft Word document of the application materials.

2024 Projects of Special Merit

The Coloratura Newsletter – Portland Opera Guild

The Portland Opera Guild newsletter has undergone a major redesign and editorial overhaul recently, as the Guild resumed its activities post-pandemic. The goal of The Coloratura is not just as a newsletter, but a way to augment positive public/opera influencer opinion about the artform in the state. As an organization that is older than the opera company its supports (founded in 1960), the Guild’s mission is broad “To stimulate interest and participation in opera for the benefit of cultural, educational, and musical life in all of Oregon.” It also provides a curated platform to provide information about opera resources beyond those in the region. The Coloratura is produced in conjunction with each luncheon one week before the first performance of each Portland Opera production.

Richard Horswell is responsible for the redesign of the newsletter, which he originally designed in 2005, in a full-bleed four-color high-paper grade format that can be either a self-mailer or distributed via envelope. The online version can be downloaded on The Guild’s website. The Coloratura! has a printing partner that delivers “at cost” production work are printed. It is the primary communications vehicle for The Guild and is used for membership recruitment, retention, news, milestones, and opera world news as space permits. Coupled with other vehicles including social media, phone tree, and email communications vehicles, members remain informed on Guild projects.

These project goals have been achieved:

  • Highly-subscribed readership achieved. Extraordinary feedback to new format, ease of use, interest in editorial, and function for administrative matters like luncheon reservations.
  • Building awareness with the Portland Opera and its leadership. Cohesive new partnership opportunities are being developed between Portland Opera and Guild leadership.
  • Thought leadership positioning achieved as a single point-of-contact for quality and reliable information about Guild and opera news in Oregon.

OPERA FOR ALL Film Screenings  –  Opera Maine

The 2023 Film Series, conceived, researched and planned by the Volunteer Programming Committee, presented a series of filmed operas from some of the world’s most acclaimed opera companies, orchestras, directors and soloists. Admission is open to all and free to selected senior communities and, through Opera Maine’s Opera for All initiative, free to audience members aged 25 and under.  New volunteers from the University of Maine graduate program will offer pre-show talks, set up and operate audio-visual equipment and provide tech support.  As always, the volunteers provided friendly greetings and served as ambassadors for Opera Maine. The success of the project led to it continuing in 2024. The 2023 Opera Film series, featuring three opera film screenings presented at Lunt Auditorium in Oceanview at Falmouth, Falmouth, Maine, engaged 14 Opera Maine volunteers, including the volunteer Programming Committee, ushers, technical/production support, and a dramaturg, all of whom made significant contributions to the program’s success.  

2023 Projects of Special Merit

Projects of Special Merit nominee Opera on Wheels
submitted by Toledo Opera Guild.
Toledo Opera On Wheels Performance

Opera on Wheels

Toledo Opera and Toledo Opera Guild Opera on Wheels This year, Toledo Opera Guild presented Opera on Wheels with a performance of The Pirates of Penzance titled “Pizza and Pirates,” Each year, Toledo Opera’s Resident Artists serve as touring artists for the Opera on Wheels program which travels extensively, bringing live opera to the Toledo area. Annually, the program is performed for 20,000 students. This season, the traveling production is a newly adapted children’s opera, of Gilbert and Sullivan’s The Pirates of Penzance. Joshua Borths of Virginia Opera adapted the score and wrote the libretto. Toledo Opera’s James Norman, directed. Founded in 1962, Toledo Opera Guild has played an active role in supporting Toledo Opera’s performances, education, and community outreach programs. It is the mission of the Toledo Opera Guild to promote opera awareness, education, company service, and financial support for Toledo Opera. In the past decade, Toledo Opera Guild has directly contributed over $350,000. This is in addition support such as cast rehearsal dinners (approximately $1,000) along with countless hours of volunteer expertise and help with various tasks. Accepting the award will be Co-president of Toledo Opera Guild Celinda Niggemyer and presenting information about the program in Pittsburgh will be Rachael Cammarn, communications and patron services coordinator for Toledo Opera

2022 Projects of Special Merit

Cincinnati Opera Guild – Artist Hospitality Welcome Bags

The Cincinnati Opera Guild has a signature event called the Meet and Greet, where artists of season productions mingle and enjoy treats and drinks with the Guild, staff and invited board members. Due to safety regulations and artists’ union stipulations related to the COVID-19 pandemic, Meet and Greets have been cancelled for the past two years. As Cincinnati Opera returns to indoor performances, 60 members of the Guild will create hospitality bags to welcome the artists. Included will be a personal handwritten note of welcome, gift cards, local restaurant cards, and a signed copy of Rick Pender’s book, “100 Things to do in Cincinnati Before you Die.” Donated tickets to attractions will be made available, and social media posts will be made to market the welcoming theme.  (Accepting the Award for Cincinnati Opera Guild was Carlos Garcia León.)

  Projects of Special Merit Archives      



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