The selection of Patsy Miller Donosky for the 2020 Juanita and Henry S. Miller Jr. Founders Award seemed as natural as singing in the Winspear. Afterall, her folks Juanita and Henry S. Miller Jr. co-founded The Dallas Opera way back in the 1950s. But Patsy had earned her operatic stripes purely on her own. From being a child traveling by train with her mother and her brother Vance Miller from Kilgore to Dallas to attend the touring performance of the Metropolitan Opera to her post-graduate job working with Dallas opera legends Larry Kelly and Nicola Rescigno. Thanks to her involvement, she got to know both operatic and film greats including Maria Callas and Franco Zeffirelli. She saw The Dallas Opera grow from the Dallas Civic Opera and its digs at Fair Park to its present day home at the Winspear Opera House.
Even after she married the late David Donosky and started their family, Patsy continued her parents’ commitment for The Dallas Opera by serving on The Women’s Board of The Dallas Opera for more than 40 years, serving on the Advisory Board since 1982 and countless other leadership roles.
On Monday, February 24, The Women’s Board of The Dallas Opera celebrated Patsy’s receiving the Founders Award at the brand, spanking new Hall Arts Hotel just a block away from the Winspear Opera House. The gathering was a mix of the stalwart veteran supporters (Joyce Mitchell, Holly Mayer, Ann Stuart, Jennie and Stuart Reeves, Patricia Cowlishaw, Cindy Feld, Sara and David Martineau, Linda Custard, Carole Lee and Dick Brown and Patti and John Cody, to the next generation of opera lovers (Ellen and Don Winspear, Anne Stodghill, Sara Lee Gardner, Jolie Humphrey, Lea Anne Laughlin, Therese Rourk, Janie Condon, Lacey Duffy Cremer, Maha McCullough and Luncheon Co-Chair Ashley Anderson Smith and Charlotte Matthews).
The day began with a reception in the upper level Ellie’s restaurant. While it was to get underway at 11:30, the crowd was already filling the lounge area.
Kern Wildenthal was sans wife Marnie Wildenthal, who was teaching her class at Literacy Achieves. Anne Stodghill was being stopped by folks, who had attended the Stodghill’s party Saturday for the book signing of Maj. Gen. (Ret.) Dana J. H. Pittard‘s and Master Sergeant (Ret.) Wes J. Bryant’s new book. It seems that it was such a crowded affair that some folks couldn’t make it past the entry hall. One guest claimed that try as she might she couldn’t make it past the piano to buy a book. Not to worry. Anne will get her a copy. When asked how the late afternoon party came to past, Anne revealed that co-host Paul Divis had grown up in El Paso with Dana and attended elementary and high school, as well West Point. Knowing Dana’s story, Paul put him together with publishing impresario Jan Miller and the result was the book “Hunting The Caliphate”… Ellen Winspear was in downsizing mode. Was it due to the October tornado? Nope. Their homestead had been ignored by the twister. Rather, due to “the boys” being all grown up, she and Don Winspear didn’t need all that acreage. So, she has been checking gated communities… Jolie Humphrey reported that the Aware applications had grown into the 20s from the last year’s group of 17…The Dallas Opera General Director/CEO Ian Derrer was putting on a upbeat face despite the fact that staffer David Lomeli had accepted the position of casting director for the Bavarian State Opera in Munich, one the most revered companies in the world… Dallas Arboretum’s Women’s Council President Venise Stuart reported to past President Linda Spina that plans for the 2020 Mad Hatter’s Tea were moving along smoothly for the Dallas Arboretum fundraiser thanks to her pal Patti Flowers.
Despite the surroundings being new to most, they all found their way to the ground level ballroom with its dramatic backdrop of Clare Wood’s “The Right Kind of Boy.”
After a brief welcome and thank to the day’s sponsors by The Dallas Opera Women’s Board President Liz Bremond and an invocation by Highland Park United Methodist Senior Associate Minister Susan Robb, tenor Christopher Leach, soprano Courtney Stancil and accompanist Mary Dibbern provided music for thought with a selection from “The Elixir Of Love” and “Make Believe” from “Show Boat.”