Charlie Schaffler 2019 National Opera Trustee


Charlie Schaffler 2019 National Opera Trustee

Opera Memphis Trustee Charlie Schaffler One of Five Recipients of OPERA America 2019 National Trustee Recognition Award.


From Nicholas Wise at OPERA America:

February 6, 2019 (New York) — OPERA America, the national service organization for opera and the nation's leading champion for American opera, is pleased to announce the recipients of its 2019 National Opera Trustee Recognition Awards. Now in their 12th year, these awards honor outstanding trustees of U.S. opera companies for their exemplary leadership, generosity and audience-building efforts on behalf of their respective organizations.

The recipients of the 2019 National Opera Trustee Recognition Awards are Elizabeth Hernandez, Opera Cultura; Charlie Schaffler, Opera Memphis; Stacey Hunt Spier, El Paso Opera; Maryanne Tagney, Seattle Opera; and Robert Tancer, Arizona Opera.

OPERA America will pay tribute to the 2019 honorees and celebrate their remarkable achievements at a dinner and reception on Friday, February 22 in New York City. The evening will feature excerpts of operas by composer Hector Armienta, artistic director of Opera Cultura, as well as performances by singers from the Metropolitan Opera’s Lindemann Young Artist Development Program.

“We are delighted to be joined by Bank of America in celebrating the significant and enduring contributions of these devoted trustees,” stated Marc A. Scorca, president/CEO of OPERA America. “Successful opera companies depend on effective boards. The National Opera Trustee Recognition Awards afford the entire opera community an opportunity to salute and learn from those who have been so generous in their passion for the art form, vision and support of their opera companies.”

Each year, OPERA America’s Professional Company Members are invited to nominate one of their trustees for this award. Through a competitive adjudication process, honorees are chosen by a selection committee, chaired this year by OPERA America Board Member Carol Lazier (chair of the board, San Diego Opera). Other committee members were Holly Mayer (immediate past chair, The Dallas Opera), Susan F. Morris (chair, The Santa Fe Opera), John F. Nesholm (chair, Seattle Opera), Ruth Orth (officer, Pensacola Opera) and R. Jamison Williams (chair, Michigan Opera Theatre). Each member of the selection committee is a previous honoree of the National Opera Trustee Recognition Program.

“As the chair of San Diego Opera’s board, I know the dedication and effort required to effectively oversee an opera company in today’s exciting and challenging times,” stated Ms. Lazier. “Now, as a past National Opera Trustee Recognition Award recipient and current OPERA America trustee, it is my pleasure to honor the exceptional leadership and accomplishments of the 2019 honorees.”

OPERA America’s commitment to recognizing excellence in governance is shared by its sister organization,, the Canadian national association for opera. honors Dr. Lydia Wingate of Pacific Opera Victoria as the 2019 recipient of its National Opera Directors Recognition Award.

Since its inception 12 years ago, OPERA America’s National Opera Trustee Recognition Program has been made possible by the generosity of Bank of America. “The Bank’s long-term sponsorship of this program illustrates its commitment to supporting effective leadership across the opera community, for which we are profoundly grateful,” stated Scorca.

Recognizing that devoted trustees are integral to opera companies both large and small, the selection committee chooses honorees from across OPERA America’s five budget groups. These groupings classify OPERA America’s Professional Company Members according to their annual operating budgets.

The honorees display a significant range of accomplishments, profound generosity and a deep devotion to promoting opera in their communities. The following profiles illustrate just a few examples of their dedication.

Charlie Schaffler, opera memphis

After graduating with a mechanical engineering degree from Notre Dame, Charlie Schaffler returned to his hometown of Memphis and worked for the Trane Company for several years. In 1971, he teamed up with Cliff Gorham to start an HVAC supply  company, which he operated as president for the next 40 years. Now as a second- generation, family-owned company, Gorham/Schaffler  Inc.  operates  throughout Memphis and the mid-south region in the sale, application and service of large-tonnage HVAC equipment and building automation systems.

Aside from his service on the board of Opera Memphis, Mr. Schaffler has served on the boards of the Assisi Foundation, FADICA and Concerts International. For his role as a 35-year supporter, central board member and officer of the Boys and Girls Club, he received the organization’s Ira Samelson Jr. Distinguished Service Award.

To read more about the other award winners, CLICK HERE.

Posted by Jillian Barron at 9:27 AM
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