Dear Puccini Friends;
As we approach another fall season I am excited to announce our upcoming Puccini Society programs. Our first event of the new season will celebrate our Founder, Bettie Francis on the occasion of her 90th Birthday! In Dec, 1995, Judson and Bettie Francis, Pat Blankenship, and Earl Carter created the Puccini Society of Dallas in order to share their love of Puccini’s music with others. Pat planned the programs, recruited members, and did whatever was necessary to keep the society going. Betty spent many successive years as Society Secretary, printing and mailing invitations and taking reservations, hosting events, as well as taking care of society correspondence. Our first program was held in March, 1996 at the home of Inge and Sam Vastole.
At Pat’s request, Dallas artist and teacher Ann Cushing Gantz painted a portrait of Giacomo Puccini for Judson Francis. Several members of the Puccini Society surprised Judson with the portrait at a small cocktail party in June,1996, shortly before his death. The portrait became the logo for the Puccini Society, and our society awarded the late Mrs. Gantz an honorary lifetime membership.
We are dedicated to acknowledging, enjoying, and promoting the music of Puccini and other great opera composers. We offer educational programs for our members and our goal is to help and encourage aspiring, young singers. Many of our members volunteer their time and talents for which we are grateful.
Among our first members who are still active in our society are Marion Ward, Bill Herrera (a past President), Inge and Sam Vastole, and myself. Bettie is our only surviving founder. We are delighted to honer her on the occasion of her 90th birthday! Without her years of leadership this society could not have thrived in the way it has.
Our fall schedule is as follows:
Sept. 25; Andrew Simpson, bass (and son of our own Tina Simpson) will sing for us at the home of Wendy Kumph and her mom, Sue Prideaux. The address is 3806 Stratford, 75225, just east of Dallas Country Club. We will celebrate our Founder, Bettie Francis.
Oct. 23; St. Matthew’s Cathedral Arts Series will present Mary Dibbern with Courtney Maina, soprano and Christopher Leach, tenor, in Songs of Mary Howe. These will be taken from their newly released CD, Songs by Mary Howe, which The Puccini Society helped underwrite. We will be at the Collora Piano Studio.
Nov.19; Stephen Dubberly will present two outstanding young singers and will also report on the Craft’s Opera in Concert program in Italy, which we help sponsor. Location TBA.
Dec. 3; Joint program with Voce Intimae (art song organization), Christian Bester, General Director. We will hear all of Puccini’s songs which will be narrated by Stephen Dubberly and held at the home of Enika and Richard Schulze.
Our membership renewal letter will go out soon with our new P.O. Box number, and we encourage everyone to renew their membership promptly. We look forward to seeing everyone soon and often at our programs.