In 1996 when Steve Malionek got his first internet connection, the first thing he did was type Gilbert and Sullivan into his search engine and found SLOC, Harvard-Radcliffe, MIT, and The Sudbury Savoyards.

In the Fall of 1996 SLOC was doing Ruddigore so he tracked down their orchestra managers, Bill and Nancy Burdine, and Bill told him they had their regulars but would put him on the list. (Steve said "yeah, probably the bottom…"). Much to his surprise, Nancy called him to play for SLOC which he eagerly accepted. The day after Ruddigore closed he received a call from Bill offering him Clarinet I for The Sudbury Savoyards 1997 production of The Yeomen of the Guard.

Steve’s musical career began at age 4 with the accordion where he competed in, and won, many competitions throughout the state. He switched to rock and roll in high school and went on to graduate from the Berklee College of Music in Boston in 1981 with a degree in Music Education. His principal instrument at that time was the guitar. The first time he picked up a clarinet was in clarinet class, where he had to learn how to play just about every instrument there is in order to teach it. (He does say that the only instrument he has never played is the bassoon.)

Steve went on to teach music at the Brookwood School in Manchester, MA where he taught a unit on Gilbert and Sullivan, using the BBC Opera World broadcasts his father had videotaped for him.

He then played saxophone in local town bands, switching to the clarinet because he says it has the most interesting parts. In the early 80’s he played with his brother, Tony, in a band called Portraits In Sound doing weddings and parties, and of course wearing the white "John Travolta" suit and blue suede shoes. He also subbed on occasion in polka bands.

Steve mentioned that he used to attend performances by the North Shore Light Opera Company where Jim Ravan was conducting, and there he probably saw Ruddigore for the first time. He will also never forget Jim running down to his podium and thought he might like to try that one day.

In 1987 Steve decided to combine his interest in music with his love of woodworking and so he became a pipe organ builder with the C.B.Fisk company in Gloucester, MA.

Steve played clarinet for our 1998 production of Trial by Jury and HMS Pinafore and was promptly recruited by Dale Hall to run for the Board of Trustees, and was elected. He says he offered to host the board meetings at his place, but no one wanted to drive all the way to Rockport!

For a number of years Steve continued to drive long distances for his G & S fix, playing in the orchestra for both SLOC and the Harvard-Radcliffe Gilbert and Sullivan Players, participating in our main-stage productions, and then contributing his wood-working talents for the summer shows, where he signed on as Set Construction Chief for the 1999 summer production of Foggerty’s Fairy.

Ruddigore in 2000 was the beginning of the Steve Malionek and Kathy Lague directorial team. Steve recalls first noticing Kathy with her "Tis Done! I am a Bride" solo in Yeomen and, I quote, "it just wowed him".

When Steve interviewed for the position of Music Director for Ruddigore he says he went overboard with his handouts, booklets, and statistics, but feels he really won the job because he was the only candidate. He also built his own podium to conduct from that year. Ruddigore continues to be Steve’s favorite show.

Fortunately for us, Steve moved to Natick some years ago to be closer to his social life, but has the unfortunate trip back and forth to Gloucester every day. He will often conduct a score while sitting in traffic, and to this day he says he gets the most sleep during his commute.

Steve went on to be Music Director for Sudbury’s productions of The Gondoliers in 2001, The Sorcerer in 2002, Patience in 2003, and The Mikado in 2005. Around this time, Steve approached the Board with the suggestion of performing The Grand Duke, a show that The Sudbury Savoyards had never included in their repertoire. Steve saw the value of the music and wondered if it could be done, and could we make an audience enjoy it. Several of us went to New York City to see it performed by the Blue Hill Troupe and quickly fell in love with it. Steve produced the score himself, incorporating our edits, probably much to the chagrin of G & S purists, he has said. There were many challenges doing an "unknown" show, and as a result of that year’s Chairman’s survey, many said The Grand Duke was their new favorite.

Steve continued to participate in the following summer shows doing set construction, painting, playbill, graphic design, stage crew, videographer, cast photographer, usher, and often appearing under "Special Thanks" just because.

Working with a very fussy Set Designer (that would be me), he has built staircases, fireplaces, a beautiful pair of French doors for Blithe Spirit, and for Engaged he turned old wooden organ pipes into fluted columns, and built a reproduction harmonium case because we needed one.

Steve was chosen as Music Director for the 2007 production of Iolanthe and added the task of Webmaster to his Savoyard resume, along with Graphic Designer. During that time he also had to travel to Kobe, Japan to voice an organ, and arranged for a piano in his room so he could practice the Iolanthe score because he was short on rehearsal accompanists.

For the 2007 summer show, You’re A Good Man, Charlie Brown Steve was planning to take a break, however, when the show was cast, nobody realized how difficult it was to find an accompanist, especially during the summertime. Even though he was on a job in Costa Mesa at the time, Steve stepped in as accompanist, practiced the score in his spare time, and arrived back in time for tech week, where he found himself at the piano on-stage dressed as Beethoven.

This year I don’t know what I would have done without him behind the scenes as Graphic Designer, Webmaster, Listmaster, Printer Liaison, Playbill, and Props construction, where he built the halberts out of old organ pipes and scrap wood from the shop at C.B. Fisk. Unfortunately, there had been a miscount and we needed a few more so he cancelled his Valentine’s plans in order to have them ready by Monster Sunday.

The Sudbury Savoyards depend on the selfless contributions of untold numbers of people to continue to thrive and meet its goals. Among those are the precious few who contribute far beyond reason or expectations, leading the company to new levels of achievement. In 2003 we began this program to honor those individuals and called it "The Yeomen of Regard" being a pun on the name of the operetta, but we feel it serves to encapsulate both the yeomen’s service our honorees have delivered and the respect they deserve for that effort.

How appropriate it is that we are honoring Steve Malionek during this production of The Yeomen of the Guard for his unparalleled dedication and enthusiasm to this organization. His participation may not always be visible in front of an orchestra or at the piano it is just as much behind the scenes at the computer or in the workshop.

The primary criteria for our "Yeomen of Regard" is "Extraordinary service in support of the mission of The Sudbury Savoyards as defined in the company bylaws."

I think you will agree that Steve Malionek not only meets the criteria for the honor of "Yeoman of Regard," but exceeds it with his many talents, his patience, his past dedication, and his vision for the future of The Sudbury Savoyards.

To show their appreciation, our First and Second Yeomen would like to escort our honoree to the podium.

Please join us in congratulating Steve Malionek!

Andrea Roessler,
Archivist/ Yeomen of Regard committee

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