One morning some years back, a resident of Beacon Hill, Boston was puzzled to discover that the traffic on Charles St, which had always flowed east towards Government Center, was now going in the opposite direction, towards the Common. He stood there trying to puzzle it out when he noticed standing next to him was the mayor, Kevin White, also a resident of the area. The mayor smiled at him and said "This is one of the fun things about being mayor."

The Yeoman of Regard was instituted as a means of extending recognition to those members who have consistently given of their talents, ideas and abilities far beyond reason or expectation, and who have, by their efforts, made an impact upon the culture and operations of the Sudbury Savoyards, in support of our overall mission of fighting hunger. Kathy Lague has more than met these exacting standards, and being able to induct her into this select company is indeed one of the fun things about this job. The numbers alone are somewhat staggering. Since joining the Savoyards in 1987, appearing the chorus of Iolanthe, Kathy has taken part in 42 productions, and her list of jobs held encompasses a great deal of what it takes to do what we do. Among these are set construction, painting, costumes, playbill layout, ticket reservations, hanging wallpaper, staffing the box office, Tickets chief, Treasurer, Score production, publicity, and we don’t even have her on stage yet.

Kathy got her start in the theater in Pittsburgh. As a teenager she got involved in Tech work, and made her on-stage debut, improbably enough, in The Grand Duke at the age of 18 (Couldn’t just do The Pirates of Penzance like everybody else, could you?). Moving to Boston, she joined the Savoyards in 1987, and took her first of many lead roles as Rose Maybud in the 1990 production of Ruddygore. I first met Kathy as a newcomer to the Savoyards when I was in the chorus for The Gondoliers in 1991, and the following year had the pleasure of playing opposite her in The Sorcerer. In 1994’s Patience, playing the title role, she provided (with the assistance of an enormous paper-mache rolling cow) one of the legendary scenes in the annals of the Savoyards. Her vocal abilities and dramatic and comedic range alone made her stand out as a significant talent and asset to the group. However, the Yeoman of Regard is not awarded for either length of service or magnitude of talent.

It was in 1995 that Kathy was called upon to step over to the other side and turn her hand to directing. She soon discovered (in her words) "the great pleasure of telling 50 people what to do and having them listen!" She stepped in to assist an ailing veteran, Sally Osborn, and ultimately had to take over when Sally could not continue. She held the cast to our purpose and kept our focus where it needed to be.

Why did she do it? Again, in her own words, "I was asked, and it was needed."

In the end, she must have found that she enjoyed the process. She assumed on-stage roles in Princess Ida and 1997’s challenging The Yeomen of the Guard, where she shared the stage as Elsie Maynard to Peter Stark’s Jack Point. The following year, with the company again in need of a degree of healing, she returned to directing as Stage and Music Director for HMS Pinafore, a feat she repeated the following year for Iolanthe. In 2000 for Ruddigore, she began her collaboration with Music Director Steve Malionek. I well recall the chairman that year at auditions introducing Kathy as Stage Director, and then happily chirping q …and this year, we have a Music Director!q Her indignant "Hey!" remains fresh in my memory to this day. Over the next decade, Kathy and Steve teamed up for eight shows, and established a pattern of rehearsal efficiency which remains the standard today. We provide a variety of information to the cast, and it began with the woman who asserted that she had never met a problem which could not be solved by a spreadsheet. These spreadsheets became the blocking forms, a tool essential to the process of "herding cats". Initially they were printed out for rehearsal. As technology improved they got posted to our website, along with blocking notes, music files, photos, videos, anything which might assist the cast in understanding what was being taught and remembering what they had learned. This year that process reached either a new pinnacle, or plumbed a new bottom, with the first series of Delsarte poses for the cast. I blame it all on you, Kathy.

In all of her activities with the Sudbury Savoyards, Kathy Lague has consistently lived up to the criteria for the Yeomen of Regard: "Extraordinary service in support of the mission of The Sudbury Savoyards".

On a personal note, Kathy has been, whether she knew it or not, an enormous support to me. I found out early on that pretty much anything I knew about how to run a rehearsal came from watching and working with Kathy on so many shows. At our first rehearsal, when I found myself standing on a chair to watch the chorus, it could no longer be debated. And throughout this production, I’ve worked as best I could to the example she set, because I knew that it worked. Kathy may not have known during those years that she was having this impact on someone else, that she was teaching. That’s what happens when you put yourself forward to do service. You are dropping a pebble in a pond, and those ripples will spread. You may not ever know how far they reach, but never doubt it – when your motivation for action is simply "I was asked, and it was needed," you are making a difference.

I received Kathy’s nomination for this accolade within one week of my becoming chairman. The nomination was from a long-time member, it was quite lengthy, thorough and persuasive – not that it needed to be – and powerfully made the case that this was not only amply merited, but long overdue. It concluded with the admonition "Chairman, do your duty!" Later tonight, it is with a pleasure that’s emphatic I’ll retire to my attic, with the gratifying feeling that my duty has been done. Kathy, it is my enormous honor, privilege and great pleasure to present you to The Sudbury Savoyards as a Yeoman of Regard.

Dennis O’Brien

Back to the Kathy Lague Page