FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
CONTACT: Tony Adams, Executive Director
Opera House Arts
1 School Street, Stonington, ME 04681
207-367-2788 | firstname.lastname@example.org
DATE: March 16, 2022
TITLE: OPERA HOUSE ARTS EXPANDS STAFF AND STRENGTHENS BOARD
Stonington, Maine – Opera House Arts is pleased to announce new board members, staff, and a promotion: Michael Bloom, Galen Koch, and Sarah Wilson have joined the Board of Directors. New Staff includes: Jenn Adams, Education Associate; Tegan McGuire, Audience Services Manager; Cathy Planchart, Marketing & Communications Associate. Riley Getto has become our new Development Associate.
“2021 was a very strong year for Opera House Arts,” said Tony Adams, Executive Director at Opera House Arts. “It was a year of not only recovering from 2020 and the impact of the Covid pandemic, but also rebuilding the organization during a large staff transition. We are now possibly in the strongest position in the history of the organization.” Now back on solid footing, Opera House Arts reconfigured and expanded its organizational chart to build on past success with a vision to the future.
“We’d like to thank out-going board member, Ray McKaskey, who termed off the Opera House Arts board, for his many years of exceptional leadership and organizational support,” said Adams. Judy McKaskey, Ray’s wife, was also a long-term board member of Opera House Arts. When she termed off the board, he joined. Judy and Ray have been core underwriters of the Shakespeare productions at the Opera House, and Judy’s involvement with the annual gala has been key to its success. “We are grateful for their contribution to our success over the years,” concluded Adams.
Michael Bloom, board member at Opera House Arts, is a Stonington resident. He graduated from Colby College in Waterville, Maine and earned a PhD in Biological Sciences from the University of Maine, completing his thesis research at the Jackson Lab in Bar Harbor. He works for a biomedical research agency, administering the review of grant applications in molecular biology. Michael also has an MBA.
Prior to joining the Opera House Arts Board, Michael was a member of the Opera House Arts gala committee for several years. He chaired the committee in 2020 when they were forced to pivot to a virtual format. He has provided housing to visiting artists and one of his sons was an intern at Opera House Arts. During his school years, Michael performed in the Mad Woman of Chaillot, The Boy Friend, and Oliver. In his youth, Michael and his brothers performed in a musical parody the “Blooms Brothers,” which was a school hit. He looks forward to serving the community in this new role.
Galen Koch, board member at Opera House Arts, is an audio producer, sound artist, and writer based in Portland, Maine. Galen grew up in Stonington and spent her teenage years on and off the stage at the Stonington Opera House. After graduating from Skidmore College and the Salt Institute for Documentary Studies, she began working as a freelance journalist. Galen has produced stories for BBC World Service, NPR’s Morning Edition, The New York Times, and various nationally-syndicated podcasts.
In 2017, Galen founded a community storytelling project, The First Coast, and began documenting the lives of coastal Maine residents. As part of her work with The First Coast, Galen teaches radio storytelling at College of the Atlantic and produces a podcast for the Island Institute. She continues to work through those partnerships to create audio exhibits and immersive sound installations in rural Maine fishing towns. In 2021, Galen founded Maine Sound and Story, an online database of Maine oral histories.
Sarah Wilson, board member at Opera House Arts, is a native to Deer Isle who began volunteering at Opera House Arts as a child. Throughout her teenage years she worked as a house manager, box office associate, and intern coordinator. She could be found on stage, backstage, and in the box office at the Stonington Opera House and also participated in performing arts through school plays, Cabin Fever Theater, and Sue’s School of Dance. She loves that Opera House Arts provides a warm space to gather during the long winter months and that it enriches her understanding of the world with people and stories from around the world.
Sarah took theater and dance classes at Bowdoin College, where she was a Neuroscience major and education minor. She started playing rugby at Bowdoin and currently plays for the Portland Women’s Rugby Team. Her passion for early childhood development led her to pursue a career working with infants and their families. Sarah credits Opera House Arts for helping shape her into the person she is today. She is incredibly grateful for the influence the organization had on her and is excited to contribute to the Opera House Arts community as a board member!
Jenn Adams, Education Associate at Opera House Arts, is a theater producer, educator, and community engagement facilitator, as well as a talented singer, dancer, musician and actor, having earned her BFA in Acting from Salem State College. Although Maine is her birthplace, Jenn’s career as a director and producer has taken her around the country over the last 20 years and landed her in Deer Isle in 2021. Jenn is a true arts leader especially when it comes to community engagement and education, having been acting all her life. One of Jenn’s greatest passions is taking a project from concept to production. She believes one of the greatest gifts that theatre gives is it opens hearts and minds.
Tegan McGuire, Audience Services Manager at Opera House Arts, is a Deer Isle-Stonington High School graduate and resident who attended the University of Maine-Orono. She brings a great deal of customer service experience to Opera House Arts, having recently worked at local hospitality businesses including at Fin & Fern and 44 North. For five years, Tegan worked at Penobscot Bay Press, starting as Office Manager and later promoted to Director of Sales. She is excited about this new opportunity at Opera House Arts to use her skills while connecting with the community in a new way.
Cathy Planchart, Marketing & Communications Associate at Opera House Arts, became a part-time Stonington resident in 2015, having moved to Maine in 1996. With several decades’ experience in marketing and communications, she is thrilled to bring her well-honed skills and expertise to Opera House Arts. For most of her career, Cathy worked in the financial services industry, including 14 years as part of Bar Harbor Bank & Trust’s marketing team. However, she has also done marketing for various local nonprofits as both an employee and volunteer, including Hospice Volunteers of Hancock County. Cathy’s mission is to share with the community all of the wonderful arts programming being offered by Opera House Arts.
Riley Getto, Development Associate at Opera House Arts, was born and raised in Deer Isle. In 2015 Riley started her long working relationship with Opera House Arts, first as a student in the role of Front of House Associate, then Box Office Assistant, and most recently Audience Services Manager. “When former Development Associate, Marvis Zou, chose to move her career forward by accepting a position with Maine Public, Riley Getto was a perfect successor,” said Adams. “Her long history with the organization, and knowing the majority of audience members and donors on a first name basis, are strengths Riley brings to her new role.” Riley looks forward to immersing herself into the development side of the organization, furthering its mission from a different angle.
Opera House Arts (OHA) was founded in 1999 to restore the 1912 Stonington Opera House, on the National Register of Historic Places, to its original role as a center for performance and a community gathering space. The non-profit organization has completed 22 consecutive seasons of programming live theater, music and dance, as well as movies, educational experiences, and community events at the Opera House. Opera House Arts offers a year-round schedule of film, community events and exciting original performances that serve local audiences of all ages. With a community-based mission, OHA uses the performing arts to foster and promote excellence in all the ways we perform our lives.