#b#Opera Open to All#/b#

We are all grateful to U.S. 1 and Elaine Strauss for reaching out to us and helping to support our organization and the opera community in its January 13 edition. Articles such as this one on the Princeton Friends of Opera, including our support of the new-to-Princeton ensemble, Grande Harmonie’s presentation of Beethoven’s opera, Fidelio, enhance the efforts of all arts organizations.

PFO is very much a community driven organization. Our mission is to serve opera performance, opera training, and young singers. There is an additional less visible aspect to PFO’s process: the opportunity to meet and to work with other music enthusiasts, to share, to volunteer, and to contribute to the vitality of opera and music in this area. In essence, PFO is nurtured by a shared goal. We can take advantage of opportunities that arise, such as hosting Grande Harmonie, because we are not aligned with any company or program, thus giving us the freedom to pick and choose our projects and thereby serve the needs of many organizations.

Princeton Friends of Opera membership is open to all with details on our website: www.princetonfriendsofopera.org. While many of our events are by necessity focused on fundraising, we do have an open members program and reception in the fall. With most of our costs covered by contributions, our overhead is minimal and most of our modest membership dues along with the funds we raise through our events are channeled back into the community.

We try to make our fundraising events as interesting as possible. For instance, our spring event is celebrated for its unusual happenings — one year featuring a Maypole dance, early English music, and Renaissance and Medieval English gourmet dishes. This year the spring event being held on May 14 is titled “Princeton Strikes Gold” and will feature gourmet dishes based on operatic associations such as Peach Melba and Tournedos Rossini, along with a program of arias from the Golden Age of Opera, and a talk on opera themes as portrayed in the works of Impressionist artist Edgar Degas.

Food, music, and art — the red, white, and blue of PFO.

Anne McMahan

President, Princeton Friends of Opera

#b#Historical Society Thanks Dougherty#/b#

On behalf of our staff, our Board of Trustees, and our friends and supporters in the community, we wish a fond farewell to Erin Dougherty as she moves to an exciting new opportunity as the executive director of the Flagler Museum in Palm Beach, Florida.

The Historical Society of Princeton has blossomed under Erin’s leadership over the last nine years. The organization has boldly expanded its programs of learning and discovery for both children and adults. At HSP, youngsters can enjoy bug safari or digging through the organic garden at the Society’s new Updike Farmstead home. Students come to us to play history detective, studying 300 years of Princeton history.

At HSP researchers can lose themselves in a search through our historic manuscripts and drawings. Visitors of all ages can see Einstein’s furniture in a salon exhibition paired alongside a rotating display of Princeton innovators. HSP is where you go for downtown history tours, inspirational lectures, the incomparable fall house tour, and the summer Concert Under the Stars. Under Erin’s leadership, Princeton history has come alive.

Several significant accomplishments of Erin’s deserve particular attention. Erin planned and executed a long-deferred relocation of HSP’s large collection of 3D objects and archival materials into a secure and climate-controlled space under its own direct control. Future researchers and historians will benefit greatly from this significant project. Erin also managed the transition of HSP headquarters to its owned campus at Updike Farmstead, a location where the organization has ample room for future growth. Already underway is a significant renovation of the historic barn, a space that is destined to become a magnet for cultural and social gatherings in our town.

As a direct consequence of Erin’s skilled leadership, HSP is now on extremely secure financial footing. Because of her work, HSP has been able to live up to its vision: to pass along the important lessons of the past to promote respectful and responsible behavior among people, and toward the built and natural world around us.

Scott Sipprelle

President, Historical Society of Princeton

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