For the Love of It

Here at Wolf Trap Opera in January, the volunteers outnumber the rest of us.

How fortunate we are to have this small army of dedicated opera lovers! Last year, our four regular volunteers logged over 600 hours, and their time and talents have quickly become indispensable.

John Feather‘s natural habitat is the media room of the Foundation’s music library. His encyclopedic knowledge of opera recordings has quickly endeared him to our artists, and he’s a great resource on discography. Shown here with his trusty LP-to-CD digitizing machine, he’s steadily converting our store of historic recordings to easy-to-use digital formats so that our artists can access them.

Fred Mushinski works with WTOC staff member Susan Weinsheimer to keep the library catalogued and organized.  Most recently, he’s been in dogged pursuit of standardizing and updating our supertitle rental library. We’ve thrown a lot of things Fred’s way, and he’s cheerfully caught them all!

Sandra Saydah watches over the CD library and is a huge help every autumn when over a thousand audition applications, resumes and headshots threaten to drown us all. While I was working on my 40th anniversary WTOC history project (which is not abandoned, I promise… I will get back to it and not leave you hanging in 1985…), Sandra was a godsend!


In addition to pitching in with his colleagues in the library, Joe Fleig cheerfully logs hours in our general storage area, keeping up with the physical paper records and helping us along on our path to digitize our files.  Joe, Sandra and Fred are also part of our volunteer housing host program (see below).

In early 2012, this regular group was joined by a young volunteer who is an aspiring opera singer. Sam Waters is spending two days a week with us this winter/spring, and his first project (wildly labor-intensive) has been prepping the supertitle powerpoint files for one of this summer’s operas.

Finally, I’d be remiss if I didn’t take this opportunity to mention the other group of big-hearted folks without whom we simply couldn’t operate: our housing hosts. We enjoy the support of over two dozen families who open up their homes every summer to provide lodging for our young artists and staff. (We still need a few good homes for artists and staff this summer… to find out more, contact us at  Thanks to all of these wonderful folks who shower us with elbow grease and good will, we are much better than we have any right to be!

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