Jeremy Boucher and Patrick T. Mason graduated college together in 2003 from a small liberal arts school in Southern California called Thomas Aquinas College. Years later they found themselves living in a small New Mexico town in the middle of the Navajo Nation. Patrick was an attorney for Mason & Isaacson, P.A., and Jeremy was the Director of the Gallup Cultural Center, a re-modeled train station in downtown Gallup. The Gallup Cultural Center is run by Southwest Indian Foundation, and it is modeled on the Public Square: where the community, school children, and visitors can gather together for forums, lectures, and celebrate the extraordinarily diverse heritages of our region.
In 2009, Jeremy and Patrick were working on ways to expand the programs at the Gallup Cultural Center and Downtown Gallup. Shortly thereafter, they came up with the idea of inviting classical singers for a weekend performance and wine tasting. Turning to Lucy Zepeda, their classmate from college, and Jason Winfield, Patrick’s childhood friend, both of whom were making their way through the opera world, they developed the idea of the Gallup World Music Festival.
Jeremy and Patrick found Davy and Diane Green, twin sisters and opera singers, and Maryhelen Halpin to round out the show, and Jason contacted the extremely talented Julian Reed to serve as pianist and coach. The Summer of 2009 saw two nights of Arias and lite-opera in the gallery of the Gallup Cultural Center; the show was a huge hit among the local Gallupians, and they were ready for more!
A few months later, Julian and Jason had contacted two friends in the opera community, Peter Strummer and Linda Roark-Strummer, and told them about the grassroots opera movement happening in rural New Mexico. Shortly thereafter, Jason and Patrick met with the Strummers, and after an intense brainstorming session over dinner and drinks, the idea of a young artists program in Gallup was born.
Jeremy, Patrick, and Jason incorporated the Land of Enchantment Opera, and in the summer of 2010 young singers came from across the United States and Canada for the young artists program developed by the Strummers. That first year there were only twelve student singers, but the program was dubbed a huge success by the students and the faculty, and both the formal dinner performance and main-stage performance completely sold out.
The summer program now attracts students from around the world and is filled to capacity, the faculty includes top talent from the opera community, and the Land of Enchantment Opera is able to offer diverse events throughout the year, both in the City of Gallup and on the Navajo Nation.
The Land of Enchantment Opera Institute is pleased to announce its 2014 opera season June 29th – August 3rd Featuring: July 5th to August 3rd - 30 Days of Opera - Nightly at 5:00 pm at Gallup Cultural Center (except Sundays and days of other scheduled events) July...
The below video features baritone Nathan Myers and bass-baritone Jeremy Milner rehearsing "Suoni la tromba" from Bellini's I Puritani. More video highlights coming...