Donor Profile: Andrea H. Neves

nevesOpera San José Board Trustee Andrea H. Neves  was born and raised in Merced County. She has taught at Stanford, where she had earned her doctorate, and is a retired Professor of Education from Sonoma State University. She is an award winning scholar, a philanthropist, a world traveler, and a passionate opera lover. “I have loved opera since I was a child,” she said, “and I bought my first opera recording when I was seven years old. It was Rigoletto.”

“Where I grew up everyone took music lessons in the school starting in second grade. We all played a song flute. In fourth grade we could pick the instrument we wanted to learn. The schools had the instruments  and music instruction and participation continued all through high school.  I am concerned that people now are failing to recognize the multiple ways that learning to play an instrument benefits a youngster. If a child learns music, he learns math.”

She went to her first live opera in San Francisco when she was in high school. “I’ll never forget it. It was La traviata,”she said. Her favorite opera is Lucia di Lammermoor, which she hopes OSJ will perform again. Coming to OSJ was an eye-opening experience for her. “The opera goers were friendly and easy to know. So were the singers. I want the people of this area to realize what a gem OSJ is, how good it is and how accessible it is. I like that it is a resident company.”

Andrea joined the OSJ Board in 2012. She recognizes the changes that Irene Dalis’ retirement will bring to the organization, but she says “Our board members are knowledgeable about opera. They are from varied backgrounds and bring differing perspectives to meetings. It is a strong, working board and we have just hired a new Development Director.” Andrea  believes the great challenge the board must deal with is getting younger Silicon Valley entrepreneurs involved in the arts, both as attendees and as donors.  “OSJ does a lot to enrich the community and to introduce those who haven’t been exposed to opera to the art form. The company goes into the schools, performs in  libraries, visits hi-tech companies and brings them the glories of operatic music. They respond and buy tickets, but we really need more donors.”

“We want the public to realize that to be a well-rounded individual you need to have a good liberal arts background. Anyone planning to donate to OSJ knows the money will be well spent. There is no arts organization that is more deserving.”