Opera house fundraiser

Oswego Opera Theater is hosting a Chicken Barbeque and Lottery Tree Raffle on Sunday, Sept. 29 at The Oswego Elks Club Lodge located at West Bridge Street and West 5th St.

An organizer of the fundraiser, professor from the Communications Department, John Kares Smith says that the event was organized due to a lack of state funding.

“Arts funding, particularly corporate funding and state funding, in recent years is less than it used to be so we need to raise a lot more funds through our own efforts throughout the year in order to have performances and recitals,” Smith said.

Smith became involved with the Opera House in 1978 when he would sing major, minor and chorus roles. Recently, he has served on the Board of Directors of Oswego Opera Theater.

This is not the first year the organization has held an event like this.

“In years past we have done this and we have been very successful because the food is always of very high quality,” Smith said.

The barbeque begins at noon and ends when all dinner plates are sold out. The dinner will feature one-half chicken, salt potatoes, coleslaw, baked beans, roll and butter and a selection of desserts. The dinner will be available for take-out or dine-in at the lodge. Drinks will be provided by the Elks Club Lodge.

“There should be some tickets available at the door so I am hoping even more students than last year attend and buy a chicken dinner,” Smith said. “Some students will be having visitors this weekend and what could be nicer than eating a fine chicken dinner out, and for a very modest price.”

Smith wants to remind people that there’s a lottery raffle too. He said that $500 in lottery tickets was purchased by a company. Tickets for those can be purchased for $10 a piece of three for $25.

Smith said that while it may be hard to put a number on what has already been raised for the organization, the results are positive.

“That is a hard question because we have had member donations, corporate sponsors, a summer golf tournament and a variety of fund-raising activities thorough the year. What has been accomplished?” Smith said.  “Well, we have done operas small and large to a variety of audiences over many years plus some very well-received professional opera recitals. Some of you should remember the gala last spring with Broadway star (and Oswego alum) Craig Schulman and opera singer Eleanor Paunovic singing in recital at Oswego’s first-rate venue, the American Foundry…people are still talking about that memorable evening. And there are more memorable evenings planned in our near future.”

Tickets for the barbeque are $8 and tickets for the raffle are $10, or three for $25. The raffle will be held at the event and only 350 tickets are available for purchase. Tickets can be purchased at Wayne Drugs, at the door the day of the event and from Oswego Opera Theater board members Adam Gagas, Dan Williams, Eve Phillips, Gay Williams, Joan Waterbury, Johanna Henry, John Kares Smith, Mack Richardson, Marilynn Smiley, Mary Cipra, MaryAnn Warner-Long, Sue Branshaw, Sue Maxwell and Robert Perkins.

Winning tickets will be drawn at the dinner but winners do not have to be present at the event. All proceeds will help support productions by the Oswego Opera Theater, including “Verdi Comes to Oswego,” which will launch on February 2014.

As for getting involved with the Oswego Opera House, Smith said that anyone interested should see him or email him at johnkares.smith@oswego.edu, but one of the best ways is to become an audience member.