Release date: 2/12/2013

San Francisco Opera Celebrates Medallion Society Members at 30th Annual Medallion Society Luncheon

Christine Miller and Gary Glaser Honored with 2013 Spirit of the Opera Award

San Francisco Opera today honored long-time Medallion Society members Christine Miller and Gary Glaser with the Spirit of the Opera Award, the Company’s highest honor bestowed upon its supporters.  San Francisco Opera General Director David Gockley presented the award to Miller and Glaser before a gathering of 600 Medallion Society members at the Company’s 30th Annual Medallion Society luncheon at the Ritz-Carlton in San Francisco.
The Spirit of the Opera Award was created in 1995 as a tribute to those who go above and beyond contributions by giving back in unique and meaningful ways that assist in San Francisco Opera’s many endeavors.  Presented to individuals whose devotion to San Francisco Opera epitomizes a high level of commitment to advancing the success of the Company and supporting the art form, past recipients include Bob and Terri Ryan, Jeannik Littlefield, Joe Brucia, Patricia Yakutis, Diana Knowles, Harriet Quarre, Dede Wilsey, Maggie Wetzel, Barbara Jackson, Susan Anderson-Norby, Kary Schulman and Sylvia Lindsey.
Christine Miller and Gary Glaser have been involved with San Francisco Opera for more than three decades.  Subscribers to the Company’s Friday opera series since 1976, they are original Bel Canto members and serve on the Bel Canto Legacy Giving Committee, encouraging other opera lovers like themselves to make legacy gifts to San Francisco Opera.  Both recently retired, Christine from Stanford and Gary from Uniforce, the couple moved to San Francisco from Palo Alto, allowing themselves to devote more time to San Francisco Opera and other volunteer activities.
Christine and Gary wear many hats at San Francisco Opera and serve as opera ambassadors in many ways.  They routinely introduce novices to the operatic art form and refer new subscribers and donors to the Company.  They are also among the Company’s most dependable artist “chauffeurs”—for more than thirty years, they have retrieved singers and creative team artists arriving at San Francisco International Airport.  Not only do Chris and Gary provide these acclaimed artists with basic transportation from the airport, they also extend a personal and welcoming touch by helping with grocery runs or taking artists directly to costume fittings or other appointments.   On occasion, Chris and Gary have also welcomed and aided artists’ families and even pets as they settle into their schedules in San Francisco.  San Francisco Opera extends its heartfelt gratitude to Christine and Gary for their priceless contributions and welcome them as new “Spirit of the Opera” members.
Established in 1983, the Medallion Society is comprised of the Company’s most dedicated supporters—donors who give more than $3,000 annually to San Francisco Opera.  The extraordinary generosity of Medallion Society members is a primary source of support for the Company’s productions, arts education and community outreach programs, and the development of young artists.  Medallion Society members represent 13% of San Francisco Opera’s individual donor base but give more than 70% of the contributed revenue the Company receives each year.  Last year, the Medallion Society raised more than $24.2 million for San Francisco Opera.  Cathy MacNaughton is the current Medallion Society president.