The Lyric Opera Ball
Proving the Arts Can Transform, Educate and Inspire a Community
The Lyric Opera Circle has the perfect prescription to maintain the cultural health of the community, and this year that remedy is befitting a queen.
In a sense, it is easy to imagine the arts as a contributing mechanism to the overall health of a community. For Kansas City, keeping a finger on the pulse of this town continually reminds us that we seem to be in great shape when it comes to breathing life into the creative veins of a city that clearly thrives on the presence of all that engages the mind, body and spirit from a cultural standpoint. The Lyric Opera is an integral part of that culture.
Keeping the performances of the Lyric Opera alive requires a solid team effort, and championing that end is the Lyric Opera Circle. Established in 1987, the Lyric Opera Circle is “an exclusive group of community members whose purpose is to host the annual Lyric Opera Ball, held in the spring each year.” Throughout the years, this social and philanthropic event has raised in excess of $14.5 million to support the world-class productions performed by the Lyric Opera of Kansas City. The money raised by the Circle helps the Opera to continue to build on excellence and the continued success of the company. In addition to its theatrical performances, the Lyric Opera also offers programs for the community, including camps for young singers.
The big social event this season will occur on Saturday, April 8th, as the Lyric Opera Circle hosts Her Majesty’s Ball. Overseen by Joan Braswell, president of the Lyric Circle, and Sherry Love, Ball Chair for the 2017 season, this black-tie affair promises to be one-of-a-kind. Held in the Grand Ballroom of the Kansas City Convention Center, tickets start at $250 per individual with sponsorships up to $75,000. Honorary chairs are Carol and John Kornitzer, long-time supporters of the Opera and community philanthropists.
As guests arrive at the Ball, they will be embraced by an elegant and regal ambiance, as Studio Dan Meiners has provided its magical touch to convey the royal and enchanting mood.
“Gold and jewels will be in order for the evening,” expressed Love. Guests will also enjoy a four-course dinner; dancing to the music of The Michael Beers Band, featuring Rachel and Pat; and musical renditions performed by local opera singers.
“This year members of the Resident Artists program will be performing, including April Martin, soprano; Samantha Gossard, mezzo-soprano; and Casey Candebat, tenor,” said Braswell.
Per tradition, an exceptional silent auction will be held, where guests can bid on an assortment of exciting items, including fine jewelry, fur coats, and unique dining experiences. Additionally, a raffle drawing will be held for a river cruise offered by Acendas Travel and Viking River Cruises.
A highlight of this year’s ball is the recognition of a very special guest who will be honored for her service of 50 years on the Board of Trustees of the Opera: Beth Ingram.
“We refer to Beth as the heart and soul of the Lyric Opera,” smiled Braswell. “She is an amazing woman who has been highly supportive of the Opera through her time and through her financial support.”
In an effort to honor Beth, the theme of the ball was purposely inspired and taken from a line in a song from the Opera’s final performance this season, The Pirates of Penzance.
“In the performance, the pirates and the police can only agree on one thing: their love of the queen at that time,” explained Braswell. “So we decided we needed a ball for our queen – Beth.”
Above all, the evening will overflow with fun.
“Beth believes there are so many who could be honored,” stated Love. “So her condition was to have an event full of many fun elements, which this one will have.”
Roughly 500 guests are anticipated and the goal of the Circle is to net $500,000, which will go back to supporting the very thing that makes this community strong.
“We are fortunate to have the caliber of arts that we have in Kansas City and we are also fortunate to have the Kauffman Center for the Performing Arts as a venue to keep the arts growing,” said Love.
Prior to the Ball, a Benefactor Party is scheduled for March 30 at The Castle at Weatherby Lake, the home of Laura Welch. All sponsors who donate at the Benefactor Level of $1,250 and above are invited to attend.
More than just delivering amazing operatic performances, the Lyric Opera has also fostered strong friendships within the community that supports it.
“The big thing for me is the lifelong friendships I have made over the years because of my involvement with the Lyric Opera Circle,” said Braswell. “I consider many of these ladies my dear friends and enjoy being among a group of people with a passion for the arts in our community, and that, to me, is what keeps this city healthy.”
Added Love, “I enjoy the friendships I have made and working with other woman on a common goal.”
For more information on the Lyric Opera Circle, or to become involved, visit them online at kcopera.org.