Springfield Regional Opera's local-premiere production of Leonard Bernstein's Candide at the Gillioz Theatre (Friday, April 5th at 7:30pm) is also a fundraiser for another local non-profit. Ten percent of ticket sales to this single performance of Candide will be donated to Lost & Found Grief Center, which provides grief support services in a safe and supportive environment for children, their families, and adults who are grieving the loss of a loved one.
The Center, located at 1555 S. Glenstone Avenue, has expanded their services this past year from primarily helping children work through grief issues to including group grief therapy and counseling services for families and adults, says Lost & Found's Events Coordinator Hannah Bunch.
"The need was so great that we've expanded beyond kids to adults as well. We provide group support services, and our groups are an environment where people can come together and share their story, and really learn that they're not alone in this. And we truly believe in the power of group, and we consider ourselves an expert grief center. So we have people who are all trained counselors with graduate degrees who are working with our families." The Center has eight full-time staff and about an equal number of coordinators and facilitators.
According to Springfield Regional Opera Music Director/Conductor Christopher Koch, the pairing with Lost & Found seemed like a natural to him. "We had been wanting to partner with a local non-profit dedicated to helping our community. And there are a couple of reasons that Lost & Found Grief emerged as a wonderful potential partner for us. Candide is the quintessential tragic comedy. It is hysterically funny at times, but both Bernstein's vision of it, and the original of Voltaire, is essentially an exploration of the human reactoin to suffering and loss. It is a timeless classic, and an amazing opera. But when we were thinking of programming Candide, we looked at local organizations that are making a difference in our community--and we were aware of Lost & Found Grief. One other factor: the Executive Director of Lost & Found Grief, Emily Givens, had been one of my long-term colleagues at Drury, just a wonderful part of our community, and we were really sad to see her go. And when I put two and two together, I reallized that we absolutely had to reach out to them."
Hannah Bunch says she is thrilled that SRO reached out to them. "We're always excited to have any partnerships in the community. We're very thankful. We are a very large community of non-profits, so it's always really awesome to get to work together and support each other any way we can. A lot of our revenue actually does come from events, and that's why we are very thankful when we have the opportunity to partner with people. And we are a little more unique in that we're event-heavy and rely a lot on that for our revenue. But a lot of (our funding) also comes from the businesses and individuals in the community that are supporting us. I think most people have experienced loss to some degree, or they know someone who has. And many people can relate to our mission. We couldn't do it without our supporters. We have very loyal people in our community who support us."
Christopher Koch of SRO adds: "One of the things that we feel very strongly about--and I'd go out on a limb and say just about anyone in the arts, today especially, feels the same way--is that the arts are a reflection of our state of mind and of our humanity. And it's not just about a concert performance or a recording or a piece of music. It's a way of expressing feelings, thoughts, emotions that are simply not expressible in any other way. And it makes sense to us to find ways of uniting our community and bringing people together--maybe in an artistic undertaking--but (also) to expand their awareness of things in our community that are happening and are also available to them.
For Candide tickets call the Gillioz Theatre box office at (417) 863-9491 or visit www.gillioztheatre.com. Springfield Regional Opera's website is www.sropera.org, and you can find out about Lost & Found Grief Center at www.lostandfoundozarks.com.