Andrea Roessler has been a Savoyard for over thirty years, and that time is shortened from what it could be because in Andrea’s youth one needed to be at least sixteen years old to be a part of a Savoyard production. That didn’t stop her from hanging around the productions, with friends whose parents were in the shows, who in their turn were friends of Andrea’s parents. Andrea grew up in Sudbury, in this church, and was a student at LS, where among her teachers were the people whose names, Harriet Rogers and Virginia Kirschner, adorn the theaters the Savoyards now occupy. Andrea performed in her first Savoyard chorus in 1976, then, after college, in 1983, and then in 1990, after getting herself settled in her career. She has participated in every show - every big G&S winter show and every summer show - since.
But longevity is a minor criterion for consideration as a Yeomen of Regard. "Breadth of significant contribution to the Company across disciplines" and "Continuing service in areas not always visible to the Company or the public but which are critical to the continuing survival of the Company" are two weightier elements. Andrea has sung in some 16 choruses, worked as an usher, sewed costumes, painted and designed sets, edited the playbill since forever, overseen publicity, sold ads, solicited donations, decorated lobbies, taken pictures, and most recently been a Trustee, and the Producer of the big shows.
Then there is the criterion "Founding effort in one or more programs of the Company that have come to define the Company." Andrea is responsible for our participation in Sudbury’s Fourth of July Parade, which, aside from our productions themselves, is perhaps our most visible contact with our community. Andrea, from a family of craft people, co-created and has co-chaired every one of the six Fall Craft Fairs the Savoyards have sponsored and organized. These fairs each typically net the Savoyards over $1000, which contributes to the donations we make to UMCOR every year. Compared to the $4000 or more our summer and winter shows can typically generate, $1000 to $2000 clearly represents the most benefit for the least effort of all our programs.
But topping all these efforts is the vision Andrea presented to the Trustees back in 1996. It’s a common cliche that those who refuse to remember history are doomed to repeat its mistakes, but the other side of that coin is that losing history loses you the successful lessons and happy memories of the past. Spurred by a bequest from the late Sally Osborn, which she will tell you about shortly, Andrea asked the Board to create the position of Archivist, to be responsible for collecting and keeping the memorabilia of the Savoyards, past, present, and future. So for the price of a few starter crates and file folders, the Board started Andrea on her quest to recapture photos, ticket stubs, playbills, cast rosters, Board minutes, set plans, and even old show T-shirts. As I noted earlier, Andrea grew up among the Savoyards, and knew the early Savoyards and their families. She knew who to go to to find - and save - these memories. You’ve seen some of the fruits of these searches and recoveries in our lobbies and at Savoyard parties where samples of the Savoyard past are displayed.
Founding and continuing efforts, indeed.
And there is one other example criterion for Yeomen consideration: "Personal sacrifice or contribution beyond expectations." As many of you women choristers know, Gilbert was particularly stingy with fun roles for women. In 1993, Andrea asked to be a Pirate in that year’s production of The Pirates of Penzance. The entirety of the story is too long for me to relate here; perhaps she will regale you with it later. But it involves having a fake scar applied to her face, the residue of which remained for nearly a year, and having to mime a sword fight with a male cast member who somehow forgot that he wouldn’t be allowed to wear his glasses on stage. And THIS is the Savoyard experience that Andrea claims as "the most fun ever."
So with no further ado, let me present to you my frequent design colleague, my friend, and our 2009 Yeomen of Regard, Andrea Roessler.
2007 Yeomen of Regard Honoree
February 28, 2009