I am extremely honored to introduce our three newest members to our “Yeomen of Regard”.

Dick Sewell, Bev Paro and Roy Paro go further back in the history of the Sudbury Savoyards than most can recall, but without their dedication and contributions, both on-stage and behind the scenes, this organization would not be as we know it today.

Frequently when you have one spouse involved in a Sudbury Savoyards production, the other gets drawn in to help, sometimes whether they want to or not. The Savoyards are fortunate to have many husband and wife teams every year, often with one on-stage and the other busy behind the scenes.

This year we are pleased to honor one of the organizations first “teams” who have both contributed a great deal, together as well as individually: Roy and Bev Paro. I found it hard to completely separate the two with individual accolades so please forgive me if I go back and forth or combine your efforts. We did, however, give you individual name plates on the plaque. They also supplied much of this introduction information, including Dick’s, for which I am very grateful for their assistance.

Roy Paro fell in love with Gilbert and Sullivan when, as a college student, he watched Kenny Baker (for those of you who remember Jack Benny) play Nanki-Poo through his horn-rimmed glasses at the old Essex art film theater in Boston. Much to his delight, G & S came home in 1961 when the Sudbury United Methodist Church choir presented Trial by Jury in what was then the Parish Hall, now Hawes Hall as we know it today.

Bev got out and sold program ads to help raise money to dig the foundation hole for the church sanctuary as part of the Committees for the Sudbury United Methodist Church Building Fund. The bug had bitten both of them when they became the Business Managers, or Producers, for the committee, for the first fully staged show in 1962, which was coincidentally, The Mikado, when it was presented at the Sudbury Town Hall.

In 1963 Bev worked on the program and Roy built and painted his first pirate hiding rocks. He was later to become famous for his many renditions of painted bricks, fieldstones and cobblestones. They repeated these efforts for the 1964 production of The Gondoliers, where history also continues to be repeated from that first gondola that wouldn’t slide properly in its tracks.

In 1965 there was no show because the Town Hall stage had no asbestos curtain, and in later years they recalled that we were almost cancelled at the high school because they had an asbestos curtain!

In 1966 and 1967 Roy and Bev became Ticket Chairs. Also in 1966 Roy figured there had to be an alternative to pushing gondolas and joined the chorus for The Yeomen of the Guard, where there were only 6 yeomen that year. In 1967 he recalls that the Iolanthe peers were almost hidden from the audience when their upholstery fabric capes swirled up clouds of dust from the Town Hall stage.

For the 1969 production of The Mikado, the organization moved to the big stage at the Lincoln-Sudbury Regional High School. Once again, Roy sold tickets and Bev sold ads. The Monster Sunday blizzard that year drifted the snow up to the handles of the car doors and they recall lifting a Volkswagon out of a drift to get a family of three orchestra members out.

In 1970 and 1971 Bev acted as Assistant to the Director. She had never realized Princess Ida was so long! Over the next ten years or so, they both worked on ticket sales, while Roy continued to participate in the chorus.

Even though Bev Paro’s name might not appear in the playbill year after year, she was very much behind the scenes, including watching out for us from her job as secretary for the Sudbury United Methodist Church where, among other things, she wrestled for our rehearsal space and worked on what we now call “The Last Supper”.

Both headed up Publicity in 1977 and Roy continued with that job for the following two years. Bev was Costume Co-Chair in 1983 and 1984, and continued to serve behind the scenes for which she received “Special Thanks”. Roy resumed the role of Ticket Chief, and Bev served as his assistant in 1999 and 2000.

I grew up in this church and with this organization, where many of my friends’ parents were involved in the productions. One of my friends was Roy and Bev’s son, Todd. I can’t tell you what an acting challenge it was for me when in our 1992 production of The Sorcerer, in the beginning of Act II where we wake up under a spell and fall in love with the first person we see, I had to make lovey-dovey eyes with his father!

In 2001 Roy served on the Nominating Committee for elections to the Board of Trustees and in 2002 was appointed ‘Second Trombone’ to the Board.

In 2003, as part of his Second Trombone duties, he served as Nominating Committee Chair and also on the newly introduced Yeomen of Regard Committee. Roy even introduced Will Ford, one of our first honorees, at this very dinner.

I personally want to thank Roy and Bev for all their help in providing valuable information for writing the introductions in the playbill, contributing the photos for the lobby board, and divulging some stories for all of us to enjoy here tonight.

Roy and Bev Paro have headed up publicity, ticket sales, sold playbill ads, and continue to paint sets together while this year Roy is singing in his 40th Sudbury Savoyards production.

Andrea Roessler