OVI’s Purpose, History and Board

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 2020-2021

President  Susan Malott  San Francisco, CA
Vice President Administration  Sandra Pelfrey  Amarillo, TX
Vice President Communications & Marketing  Mary Svela  Gladstone, OR
Vice President Membership & Outreach  Anne Pennington  Brentwood, TN
Secretary  Vikie Hariton  Tucson, AZ
Treasurer  Sheila McNeill  Omaha, NE
Nominating  Julie Todaro  Pembroke Pines, FL
Immediate Past President  Rhonda Sweeney  Houston, TX


Grants  Rhonda Catanzaro  Signal Mountain, TN
Newsletter  Rick Greenman  Darien, IL
Parliamentarian  Open
Partners in Excellence  Sarajane King  Cincinnati, OH
Projects of Special Merit  Sandra Pelfrey  Amarillo, TX
Resources/ Public Relations  Barbara Eckel  Evanston, IL
Social Media  Valerie Grace Ricordi  Miami, FL


Great Lakes  Open
Gulf Region  James (Jim) Jolly  Tuscaloosa, AL
North Central  Sheila McNeill  Omaha, NE
Northeast  Anastasia (Stacey) Johnson  Buffalo, NY
Northwest  Gayle Charlesworth  Kent, WA
Southeast  Phyllis Driver  Knoxville, TN
South Central  Jerry Bohannon  Katy, TX
Southwest  Karen Ritz  Denver, CO


Database Management  Anne Prokopovych  Calabasas, CA

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

Leave a Comment