News Column

Allebach happy to be 'cheerleader' of Union Avenue Opera

July 5, 2014

By Sarah Bryan Miller, St. Louis Post-Dispatch

July 05--Doug Allebach has been involved with Union Avenue Opera since its first season, as an ensemble member, props manager, board member and self-described "cheerleader."

Allebach, 54, an interior designer, sang in the chorus in 1994, UAO's first season, became friends with founder Scott Schoonover and stuck around. He's one of a "core family" who've been involved all along, he said, including Schoonover, principal cellist Tracy Andreotti and soprano Ann Hoyt.

UAO has become more professional since the first production, Purcell's "Dido and Aeneas."

"It was a small group of people doing a lot of things with a very, very low budget," Allebach said. "It really had that sort of Mickey Rooney 'Let's put on a show' feeling. People were gung ho, and that (sense) still is very much there."

He handled props for a couple of years and learned how much work there is. "It really takes time to find the simplest things. You have a big scavenger hunt to find them." Opera Theatre of St. Louis has been generous in sharing, he said, as has the Washington University props department.

"Now we have folks to take care of those things," he observed, including costume and set designers and stage management. "We're not so out there on our own."

Allebach is stepping away from singing ("but never say never"). "Singing has been a big part of my life," he said. "I really want to keep that commitment going. There's fundraising, grants, capital campaigns. ... There's lots for volunteers to do."

He's always admired Schoonover's ability to draw out the singers. "It really makes me proud to see all this. I think the music was always good, but Scott continues to challenge people, and bring you to places you didn't think you could get, year after year."


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Source: St. Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

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