Who We Are

On October 4, 1955, four Houston Grand Opera contributors met at the home of Mr. And Mrs. William W. Bland for the purpose of forming the HGO Guild. Mr. Bland was the Guild's first vice president and his wife was the founding chairman, a title later changed to president. Founding co-chairs were Mrs. Edger Haden and Mrs. John L. Abercrombie.

While we don't really know the conversation that started the HGO Guild, we do know that the four people who came together on that Fall day were the star performers in the Guild's early history. From their initial efforts, the Guild's services have grown to meet the expanding needs of the Opera.

Today's Guild volunteers come from all walks of life and are as diverse as Houston itself. A Guild volunteer may be a young professional just starting out in the workforce or someone who has retired after many years of corporate service. A volunteer may hold a Ph.D. in advanced studies or be a 'domestic engineer' with years of on-the-job training. This year more than 2,300 members will perform in roles as diverse as education, artist hosting, community involvement, social events, and the HGO Guild Boutique.

The mission of the Houston Grand Opera Guild is to support HGO in its endeavor to bring together larger and more diverse audiences to experience grand opera. This will be accomplished by:

  • Educating the opera and music theater audiences of tomorrow
  • Promoting "Opera-Active" participants through service and events
  • Contributing financially to the opera where consistent with its education and service objectives

The HGO Guild Board of Trustees are the Administrative Officers of the Guild, the Chairs of Committees, and Life Trustees (people who have a distinguised record of volunteer service to the Guild.

The heart and soul of the Guild are the many Guild members who volunteer their time and talent to make the Guild programs so successful. Last fiscal year, Guild members worked nearly 11,000 hours to support Guild activities. We also appreciate the organizations and people who have made monetary and in-kind contributions to the Guild.

Each year at the annual Fall Brunch, the Guild honors volunteers who have made important contributions to Guilds programs. These awards are the Volunteer of the Year, and the Volunteers of Distinction. The Guild also awards the Bravo Award to a non-member who has made singular contributions to the Guild or to the opera company itself.

The Houston Grand Opera Guild's Strategic Plan (2.16 MB) was presented to the board at its June, 2003 meeting. This plan envisions an even larger and more active Guild and recommends a number of steps to align the Guild more closely with Houston Grand Opera. The appendix assesses current programs and considers new programs for the Guild, including the great ideas developed at the May 17, 2003 working session.

In the nearly 50 years since the Guild was formed, the Guild has played an important role in making Houston Grand Opera one of the premier opera companies of the world. The best is still to come. You can be part of that future by joining the HGO Guild cast - No Audition Necessary! Just complete your membership application today!