In 1952, several musicians met in Mill Valley and decided to form a local light opera company. Barry Mineah gathered people from vocal groups around Marin. He soon had a chorus of some 35 voices. The church choir from the Episcopal Church of Our Savior formed the nucleus. He also lined up a 16 piece orchestra. The Mill Valley Light Opera Company’s first performance was Gilbert and Sullivan’s “Trial by Jury” in May 1953. Encouraged by its success, the company expanded for a November 1953 performance at Tam High of Gilbert and Sullivan’s “Pirates of Penzance” which ran for two nights.
In July 1954, the company performed Gilbert and Sullivan’s “Mikado” at the Marin Art and Garden Center amphitheater in Ross. There were 41 singers and an orchestra of 27 musicians. All four performances received standing ovations for musical excellence.
There followed three more Gilbert and Sullivan works: “Iolanthe”, “Gondoliers” and finally, “Princess Ida” performed at San Rafael High School in June 1957.
Want more info? Read the History of Homestead Valley article:
Homestead’s Role in Light Opera