January Monthly Matching Theme: Community Engagement

Opera Everywhere!

The incredible power of music can bring people together in spirit, even in circumstances when they must remain physically apart. Despite the limitations of COVID-19, in 2021 Opera Kelowna offered free concerts both live-streamed and with safe distancing in-person. We partnered with communities from Vernon to Naramata to expand our offerings throughout the valley. We did this because we believe that the artistry, the power, and the beauty of operatic singing and performance has something for everyone.

Our community engagement is musical service to our community: whether it’s for seniors who aren’t able to venture out, for families who want to experience a night of musical delight in a picnic setting, or for those ardent music lovers who crave new and exhilarating concerts not otherwise available in the Okanagan Valley, Opera Kelowna strives to bring operatic experiences everywhere they might make a difference. Assuming we can return to full in-person performance in 2022, we anticipate our offerings will reach over 3000 people. These programs will represent 30% of Opera Kelowna’s budget next year, and are only partially funded by grant support.


The Possibilities are Boundless.

Meeting our fundraising goals means Opera Kelowna can offer all the programming it did in 2021, and expand our performances in communities further afield in the Okanagan Valley.

January Matching Champions:

John McEwen & Rosalie Elliott, Gillie Richards

Mr McEwen & Ms. Elliott have been opera lovers for many years–it was actually the movie “Amadeus” in 1984 that was the catalyst for their interest–and they have been subscribers to either Vancouver Opera or Opera Kelowna ever since.

Mr. McEwen was on the Board of Vancouver Opera for nine years, and being a VO board member was both an enriching and an eye-opening experience. Among many intriguing events, the couple were able to meet not only singers, but also musicians, directors, set designers, conductors, props makers, and staffers (from the General Director to the ticket handlers). To see the myriad of details that go into making opera happen was an education that they loved and will never forget. “The passion and commitment shown by everyone involved, from top to bottom, is both humbling and inspiring.”

Gillie is an advocate for the arts and as a filmmaker who has also written and reported about arts and culture in the Okanagan over the past 10 years, her support and belief in Opera Kelowna is one of the positions she holds most dear to her heart. “It is quite simply a world-class organization with unparalleled performances and ingenuity, which is truly an exceptional gift for a community of this size. The best part is how they continuously introduce our local audience to what opera can be, from mind-blowing renditions of the classics to completely original and vastly entertaining creations from emerging visionaries. Even one show will have you sold on the incredible impact that the live experience of this art form provides.”
Gillie’s favorite moment so far was being seated on stage with the rest of the audience while performer Isaiah Bell used song, monolouges, musical experimentation and props from his childhood to tell the story of his unusual and incredible life in last summer’s presentation of The Book of My Shames. The intensity, emotions and mastery left the entire crowd in awe by the end of the night.

January goal: $5000

Your gift will be matched by our community champions up to this total!