I need to begin with a shocking admission that I hope doesn't disqualify me. The rumors are true: I have been known to place theatrical wagers from time to time. But it's all right: I never bet against the Sudbury Savoyards in operas I was conducting.

Seriously, I am deeply honored to be elevated to the peerage, to be mentioned alongside those giants on whose shoulders I had the opportunity to stand when my turn came. What does it say about the Sudbury Savoyards that we choose to honor some of our past leaders in this way? It says that we have a long and proud heritage, which we're eager to understand - not in order to repeat it exactly, but in order to learn from it and to build on its successes. I think that spirit of respecting the past, while doing what it takes to get the job done in the present, all while planning for the future, is one thing that sets this company apart.

I'm especially pleased that we have honored people from so many different leadership roles. We value and reward people who think big, who make major commitments and deliver on them, pretty much regardless of which artistic or technical specialties those commitments might involve. In explaining my own wearing of so many different hats, I like to joke about a short attention span, but I really do love all those different disciplines, and I've always been happy to fill in wherever I'm needed most. I'd like to share something I overheard at put-in, but first let me describe the scene: the bare stage under worklight; the scissor-lift beeping and whirring as it goes up and down to install lights; cordless drills whining as set pieces are assembled in place; flown scenery being rigged; dozens of people unloading vehicles, carrying various odd-looking objects into the auditorium; Brendon standing at the vortex, dispatching columns this way, orchestra wall pieces down there, makeup supplies out back. In the midst of this controlled chaos, I overheard one of the newer cast members commenting to another, in tones of surprise and admiration: "This is really well organized!". Congratulations, Mariah [first-year Technical Director, and by all indications a future Yeomen of Regard herself]. Congratulations, Tom [Powers], and Brendon [Chetwynd, first-year Producer, former successful Technical Director, husband of Kiri Olsen], and Sharon [Ravan, our longtime Stage Manager], and everyone who realizes that thorough planning and solid organization are the way we turn our can-do attitude into actually getting it done. It isn't just about keeping track of set pieces and props and costumes and lights and refreshments; it's also about respecting the people who built those things, and who transported them, and who will perform with them. If, through clever planning and effective communication, we can save everyone in this room ten minutes, we've just created a full day, and we all know what a difference a day makes.

I'd like to encourage more of you to join the ranks of the great planners and organizers, the people who empower and inspire us, the fine folks who run the Sudbury Savoyards. Whatever you do for a living, or want to do, I promise you that the skills and experiences you would gain will be good for your career, as well as giving you more self-confidence and, of course, a deep sense of satisfaction. [At this point a heckler called out, "He's still recruiting!"] But why should the Savoyards need or want more leaders? Don't we already have great people heading all the departments?

Of course we do -the best! And yet, paradoxically, filling many of our leadership jobs is always a struggle. And that's just the mainstage shows --the summer program and other projects are chronically short of staff. If you want to get involved, there's almost certainly a job to match your skills and interests, perhaps as an assistant to one of our experienced leaders. Just speak with Brendon, or Mariah, or any Board member.

Now a quick personal note. Even more astonishing to me than my 25 years with the Sudbury Savoyards is my upcoming birthday. I hesitate to reveal its number, but reckoning by Frederic's natal day, I'm about to turn 12 1/2. I plan to celebrate with an evening of amateur music-making featuring any Sudbury Savoyards who care to join me, along with several other musical organizations I belong to, including the Shepherd's Pie Dixieland Band of Savoy Club fame. It will be April 17, the Saturday after tax day, which is also the Saturday after Easter. Much more information will be forthcoming, once I finish this show I'm working on right now. It will be forthcoming by email, so if you are not on the Savoyards' email lists, here's another reason to fix that.

Finally, I'd like to answer --rhetorically -acquaintances of mine who can't comprehend the hours and the energy I've been willing to commit on a volunteer basis. These acquaintances are obviously not Savoyards! How could I show up, night after night in this draughty old rehearsal hall, year after year in that creaky old auditorium, Saturday after Saturday at those dusty old tech days, month after month at those tedious old Board meetings? How could I? I remember the wonderful traditions which I had the opportunity to perpetuate and update; I remember all the wonderful people whom I had the chance to lead and develop; I remember the glorious operas which we performed together on a grand scale; I remember the worthy cause we've served; and I ask, how could I not?

David Larrick

Back to the David Larrick Page