Organizational History

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.

1970: 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.

The St. Petersburg Opera Company presents Pinocchio to schoolchildren.

Volunteers & Board

Michael Roberts

President & Donations

Kenneth Kesty

Vice President Competitions

Nancy Preis


Valerie Lyons

Assistant Treasurer

Sharron Robbins

Vice President Membership

Hanna Brammer

Vice President Programs

Gaetano (Guy) Jacobs

Vice President Silver Bells

Bernadette Moriarty


Myrna Bouchard

Recording Secretary

Trisha Birkenstock

Assistant Recording Secretary

Susan Luehrs

Corresponding Secretary

Krista Whipple


Susanna Bellafante


The St. Petersburg Opera Guild was established in 1964 with a mission to educate, to build appreciative audiences, and to encourage young talent throughout the state of Florida. For over 50 years, St Petersburg Opera Guild has sponsored classical vocal competitions in two categories. The High School competition is held annually, while the College and Young Professionals occurs biennially. We also support the St. Petersburg Opera Company and its educational programs. The Opera Guild is a 501 (c) (3) not-for-profit organization and is registered with the State of Florida as a charitable organization #CH3485 If you would like additional information or have questions about SPOG, please contact us.
Play Video

Here is a video about a production of Pinocchio
produced by St. Petersburg Opera.


St. Pete Opera Guild’s commitment to opera education outreach programs to schools and the community includes financial support of the St. Petersburg Opera Company’s annual production of the charming children’s opera “Pinocchio”.

Since Pinocchio’s inaugural presentation in 2016, the guild has been one of the proud co-sponsors of the production, and guild members have served not only as volunteers at both school and public performances, but have helped to write and prepare the colorful “Pinocchio” pamphlet distributed to 3rd grade school students prior to their attending school performances..

Of course, the St. Petersburg Opera Guild supports the St. Petersburg Opera Company, and the talented team of professionals led by Maestro Mark Sforzini.