Thank you very much, to Andrea, to the Board of Trustees, and to all of you for the kind reception.

I’ve been in this room many times to witness the Yeomen of Regard proceedings since its inception in 2003. But for this part of the ceremony, I’ve always been facing in the other direction. It is truly an honor to be standing here, facing this direction, and to accept this prestigious award.

My interest in the operettas of Gilbert and Sullivan didn’t start in my youth, as has been the case with many people. In fact, it wasn’t until after my college years that I became more exposed to their work and developed a love and appreciation for it. Being a clarinet player, my first interest was to play in the orchestra for a production. So when I did that now famous internet search, I was thrilled to find four Gilbert and Sullivan performing groups in the area that used a full orchestra, The Savoyard Light Opera Company in Carlisle, The Sudbury Savoyards, The MIT Gilbert and Sullivan Players and the Harvard-Radcliffe Gilbert and Sullivan Players. I have performed in the orchestra with all of these groups, but it is with The Sudbury Savoyards that I have been most involved with over the years. Having the opportunity to perform these operettas with a full orchestra is by far one of the greatest aspects of this organization. In almost all community theater, space and budget limitations prevent the use of the full instrumentation that a show was scored for. To have all of the tone colors that Arthur Sullivan wrote for in the orchestra is priceless and my hope is that this will always continue to happen here in Sudbury.

It was in that first year that I joined the organization, for The Yeomen of the Guard in 1997, that I first observed what has come to be the thing that has most impressed me about The Sudbury Savoyards, even to this day. And that is the extremely high level of quality community theater that can be produced by an all volunteer organization. Just taking a glance around this room shows right away, first, how many people it takes to put up a show of this magnitude, and second that we are all here for the love of Gilbert and Sullivan and the theater. Volunteer does not mean poor quality. That is evident from the productions that have gone on here over the years. As a director I always tried to set the bar pretty high and encourage people to work to the best of their ability in the hope that they would want to return year after year with a "paycheck" being a satisfying and enjoyable musical and theatrical experience.

The Savoyards have progressed more and more into the electronic age over the past number of years through the web site and the email lists. I’m sure that there are some people who are kicking and screaming at the use of computers and electronic means of communication. But, let’s face it, the internet is a big part of most people’s lives and is quite valuable in a lot of ways. It’s not the only way, but does have some value. Remember that I stumbled upon this group by using a search engine on the internet. My positions as webmaster and listmaster have kept me in the thick of this "electronic" medium and I will continue to push it’s use, both in keeping our public informed through the web site and the participants informed through the private pages. The system is not perfect but will always improve. I welcome any thoughts or suggestions, and that carries through in other areas as well. There is a wealth of information out in those seats that should be shared. As a director, I always had the philosophy that I would listen to what you had to say. In the end, it was always my call as to whether to use the information or not, but it is important to hear the thoughts. I would encourage listening in all disciplines. You never know when you’ll get a brilliant suggestion for something that you’ve never thought of.

Over the years I have dabbled in a lot of different areas within the organization. I encourage you to do the same and try your hand at some of the many tasks that need to be covered for a production. If you are in the cast for the main stage show, why not try a tech position in the summer show. Recruiting is always a challenge so you can help out a lot by stepping forward and learning something new. For example, Pat Kinney, who has played clarinet in the orchestra for many years and has been on stage, too, volunteered to run the light board for one of our summer shows because he had never done something like that before and wanted to try it out. He got a chance to do something new and it helped out the production immensely. Maybe you could follow his lead.

I would encourage you to take some chances. True, they have to be strategically timed. A good example is our production of The Grand Duke in 2006. I still commend the Savoyards for taking the "chance" on this rarely performed operetta. It certainly was a significant challenge, but in the end, it was quite a successful run. One of my fondest memories of the production was the work of the chorus. The Grand Duke has more material for the chorus than any of the operettas in the canon. I wondered if there was enough time to learn and memorize all of that material. And they did, admirably. I was very proud of their efforts, along with everyone else involved in the production. The show set some history, as it was the first performance of The Grand Duke by The Sudbury Savoyards. It also exposed the operetta to our organization as well as to the community. I also remember the chairman’s survey from that year. There were numerous entries from people stating that The Grand Duke was now one of their favorites. For the seasoned Gilbert and Sullivan veterans out there, who would have thought that so many people would list The Grand Duke as a favorite? And it’s all because the organization took a chance on selecting it for performance.

I could go on, but I know very well how important it is for you to get back to the theater to prepare for your final performance. So, in closing, let me restate my opening. I am truly honored to be the 2008 Yeomen of Regard honoree and now take my place among the distinguished people who have come before me in this recognition program. Some of them are here in this room tonight. I’d like to thank Andrea for all of her efforts in the Yeomen of Regard program as well as the many other "tiaras" that she wears, and the Board of Trustees for selecting me as this year’s honoree, and to all of you, for without your time and talent, there is no show.

Thank you very much.

Steve Malionek, March 1, 2008

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