1964: Vision & Traditions
In 1964, the Guild was formed as the Service Guild of the St Petersburg Civic Opera Guild, Inc., a perpetually existing corporation, the general name and object being that of a charitable and educational organization.
In 1965, the Guild sponsored its first major fund-raising event which became the Silver Bells Luncheon, an eagerly awaited event of the social season.
In February 1971, the Guild sponsored a production of Carlisle Floyd’s Of Mice and Men. Cosi fan tutte by Mozart was staged in April 1978. Since that time, the Guild has chosen to contribute its support to other performing opera companies including St. Petersburg Opera Co., while focusing its attention on its annual vocal competitions.
The first vocal competition was held on March 15, 1970, for Pinellas County high school students, with modest college scholarships awarded to the winners. For the past several years, awards have been cash awards made directly to the winners for use to promote vocal studies.
Substantial increases in prize monies, made possible by growing support from Guild members and the general public, have enabled many aspiring young artists to continue their vocal studies leading to professional careers in opera and musical theater.
In 1989, the Guild celebrated the 20th anniversary of the founding of the Vocal Competitions with a concert featuring four former winners of the Senior Competition, including Janet Hall Folta.
2015: Embracing the Future as The St. Petersburg Opera Guild
In early 2015 the Guild officially changed its name to St. Petersburg Opera Guild, Inc. to reflect its support of the St Petersburg Opera Company and its educational programs. The Guild continues to maintain vocal competitions for young singers throughout the state of Florida.
Our major annual fundraiser is “Silver Bells,” historically held the first or second Friday of December.