Virginia Opera establishes The Joan B. Miller Fund

NORFOLK, Va. (August 15, 2012) – Virginia Opera has established The Joan B. Miller Fund to honor the life and work of Joan Barbara Miller, who served as President of Virginia Opera from 2009 through 2011 and for many years on the Opera’s Statewide Board of Directors. Miller passed away Monday. Among her many contributions to Virginia Opera, Miller was a tireless proponent of bringing preeminent conductors from around the nation and the world to lead the Company’s productions.

The Fund will be managed as a permanently restricted fund within the larger Virginia Opera Foundation and will underwrite the costs of bringing established conductors, as well as rising stars, to conduct Virginia Opera productions. Initial contributions to launch The Joan B. Miller Fund have been made by the Miller and Schneider families, by her colleagues on Virginia Opera’s governing and advisory boards, by Virginia Opera staff and by other friends of the company.

Miller joined the Virginia Opera Board of Directors in 1995. She was the immediate past-president of the Virginia Opera Statewide Board of Directors and was also currently serving as a member of the Executive Committee. Miller was unanimously named Director Emeritus by the Board of Directors in July of this year, in recognition of her decades of service to Virginia Opera.

“Hampton Roads, Virginia and Virginia Opera have lost a dear friend and a tremendous force for good,” said current Board President Alan D. Albert. “Joan Miller was a tireless crusader for the arts, for health care, and for other causes that bettered the fabric of our communities and the quality of our lives within them. She was unrelenting in her belief that nonprofits can change the world – and under her focused leadership, they did just that. As we grieve her loss, we celebrate her life and all she gave us.”

Virginia Opera’s President and Chief Executive Officer, Russell Allen, echoed Albert’s sentiments. “Less than 12 months ago, Joan Miller, the Opera’s immediate past-president, and current Chair Alan Albert began the conversation with me of my returning to Virginia Opera to assist them in moving the Company forward through the first change in artistic direction in its history,” said Allen. “Joan’s passion for the art form of opera was so clear in those discussions, as was her commitment to continuing and furthering the quality of Virginia Opera. Her depth of involvement in the organization was exemplary. Her level of passion for opera is the gold standard for Board leadership. She will be greatly missed by the Virginia Opera family.”

About Virginia Opera

Virginia Opera is in its 38th year of operation. The Company has a working budget of $6.4 million with over 40 mainstage performances in three markets, reaching nearly 60,000 attendees. In March of 1994 Virginia Opera was named The Official Opera Company of the Commonwealth of Virginia in recognition of the organization’s contribution to the Commonwealth and to the world of opera.

joan b miller

Virginia Opera Board of Directors Director Emeritus Joan Miller. Virginia Opera has established a The Joan B. Miller Fund in her honor, after Miller passed away Monday, in recognition of her decades of service to Virginia Opera and the Hampton Roads community. Photo by Virginia Opera.

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