I am a member of the Board of First Coast Opera (FCO). I am proud to say that I have been affiliated with the company longer than any other board member. I started in 2000, soon after FCO was founded. At that time, I sang in chorus; but soon became active in administrative matters.
Under the leadership of founders, Barbara Norris and Anthony Fast, First Coast Opera put on some pretty impressive productions in those early years. Part of the Mission of the company then—as it is still –was to provide an opportunity for regional singers to perform the operatic repertoire. While in those early days we were mostly amateurs, we always paid for professional leadership for our major shows. We also enjoyed the support of many institutions such as the Lightner Museum and several area schools.
After Barbara and Anthony retired, we had a rocky time; but with the help of generous donors were able to regroup. In 2014 we hired a professional Artistic Director, Maestro Curtis Tucker. Curt has taken the company to a whole new level of professionalism. He has gained us recognition and support from the National Endowment for the Arts, the State of Florida and other major public and private institutions. Curt’s professionalism and creativity has grown our audience and, concurrently, the donor base of the company.
We have a fantastic season coming up. It includes a New Year’s Eve performance of La Traviata. I hope you will be able to join us on this and many other occasions.