Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Let your donation make an impact

The District Auditions here in the Eastern Region are just a month away, and all the details have (almost) been finalized.  They will once again consist of three days, broken down as follows:


Tuesday November 13: 12pm - 7pm
Wednesday November 14: 10am - 5pm
Thursday November 15: 10am - 5pm

So if you have always wanted to attend the auditions but were unable to do so because of work, we have the solution for you this year.  For the first time ever, we are holding afternoon/evening auditions so people can stop by as they leave the office.  To make it just a little more enticing, we will be serving snacks and drinks as well so you can enjoy listening to the new talent we will be discovering this year while winding down from a long day at work.

Last year we started the tradition of asking people for a suggested admission of $15.  As the name suggests, this amount was only a suggestion and no one was obliged to donate anything.  We understand this is a new concept for the Eastern Region, and we know times are tough and many of our visitors are students, but your donation goes a long way...even if it is just a few dollars.

Even though the Metropolitan Opera National Council Auditions Eastern Region is a 501 (c) (3) charity that is run under the MET umbrella, we only share the name of the organization until the singers reach the Semi-Finals.  We do not share any fundraising efforts.  As one of 13 Regions here in the US, we are responsible for raising our own funds to organize the auditions.  The whole organization is volunteer based, and without the dedication of our wonderful Eastern Region committee and the generous donations of our donors, there would be no Eastern Region Auditions.

Any donation you make will go a long way.  Here are some facts:
  • Our committee donates their time and takes no fee for their services rendered.  
  • When we organize events, from the gala to the auditions itself, we try to get as much donated as possible.  At last year's gala, for example, we got dessert, liquor and food donated.
  • Most of the money raised is used to give our winners Prize Money which they can use to further their careers (The Cost of Being an Opera Singer).
  • Even singers who do not advance to the next round benefit from participating in our auditions.  Singers get feedback about their performances, which is a tremendous help.  Because we want to give them the best advice we possibly can, we make sure to get the best judges we can.  These include teachers, singers, conductors... people who know opera inside and out and who can give invaluable advice to our young singers.  Most of the judges donate their time as well, but sometimes we do need to fly them in from different parts of the country.
  • Some of the money raised is also used to pay for overhead.  The biggest chunk of that goes to the rental of our audition spaces.  Casa Italiana and Merkin Hall are both amazing performance spaces, and this helps both the singers and the audience.  This is as close as possible to attending a real opera recital.  We try to work with the venues to give us the best possible deal, but quality comes at a price.
As you can see, a $15 donation would go a long way and will make a tremendous impact in the lives of our singers.  In a mere three years from now you might be sitting in the Met watching a performance featuring one of this year's contestants and then you will be able to tell the person sitting next to you that you helped that singer realize his or her dreams.  You can make your donation at the door, but you can sign up to attend the auditions here to guarantee your spot.  Your donation will give you a wonderful day filled with opera.

So even though asking others for money does not come easy to me, I find it very easy to open my wallet and donate something to a good cause when an organization asks it of me.  I hope you will do the same.