Committee Meetings

Jun 14, 2018

Opera House Commission Minutes - June 14, 2018


Opera House Commissioners

June 14, 2018

5:00pm @ Manager’s Office


Attendance: Richard Alberini, Susan Pilotte, Karen Noyes, Dan Stearns, George Mitchell

Call to Order: By Richard Alberini at 5:00 pm


Secretary Report:

The report was sent via e-mail as well as hard copies available for the meeting. Karen Noyes noticed a typographical error on page 3 “rained” should be changed to “raised.”


Opera House Manager: Susan Pilotte

  1. A report was sent out via e-mail to all concerned last week. This report contained financial status, income, bookings, fund raising plans, etc. It was well-detailed. Some of the items that Sue brought up at tonight’s meeting included the scheduled Flea Markets that are planned into the year 2019. She has also contacted Phil Brown, manager of the St. Johnsbury Big Band, for a booking on October 20, 2018. This will be a Halloween Dance that is open to the public. The charge for the band in $1500, a small increase from the first time that they were hired to play at the Opera House. Sue is looking to the Commissioners and Friends of the Opera House to provide snack/finger foods and to help with the set up and clean up. Sue, once again, went through the list of ideas for 2018/2019 seasons.
  2. Upstage Players has asked to schedule the venue for three weeks prior to each of their performances. Their reasoning is that they don’t have enough time to prepare for productions. George Mitchell provided more clarification. Sue is concerned that the “regulars” who usually rent the venue will be pushed out and will find another venue. She has spoken with Andrew Dorset, Town Manager, about this concern. He said that a contract be drawn up between the Opera House and the Upstage Players and that a lawyer will be the one to draw it up. The Town Manager will be the one who will make the final decision. The Fire Chief has also expressed concern that the theater company/productions are growing too big for the venue.
  3. Sue believes the Manager’s part-time position and expectations have increased due to the increase in bookings and administrative duties.   Sue is feeling some stress about not having enough clerical help, as well as added hours for ensuring events are held without issues, especially due to not having any steady assistance.   Sue is working with the Town on solutions. 
  4. The manager is getting phone calls from people who are interested in the upcoming events that are sponsored by the Opera House. The Johnny Cash show is the next one in line.
  5. Recycled Percussion has been seen by thousands of people on various internet devices. The event certainly promoted the venue.
  6. The Opera House newsletter will be out and published next week.
  7. Financially, the Opera House is doing extremely well.
  8. The Friends of the Opera House organization is not growing. The manager feels that we need more people to help with the functions. Currently, the commissioners are on the list as well a a few other volunteers. Dick Alberini has been publicizing the organization on WLTN.  It is becoming more difficult to set up and break down for renters. George Mitchell suggested that there be a fee if that particular service is provided, otherwise, the renters will be responsible for their own chairs and tables.
  9. Doug Hadfield, the new custodian. Is working out well but is finding the physical duties of set up, break down, and moving the racks to be physically demanding at his age. Sue and George will work on this problem for a solution.


Financial: Karen Noyes

  1. Hard copies of the financial reports were distributed and explained.
  2. She said that the Opera House is ahead of schedule (10% ahead of financial expectations). She said that the expenditures a slightly over but there is still 52% of the budget left. This is not a problem in her opinion. The accounting process is being fine-tuned. Overall: We are doing very well !
  3. Sue Pilotte said that the Chamber of Commerce is using the water, drawn from the Opera House, for the watering of the hanging plants on Main Street and that the water bill is paid from the Opera House budget. She spoke with the Town Manager and he said that the Chamber may continue to draw its water from the Opera House. Karen Noyes said that the LCC has given money ($200) towards the water bill and that there’s more money coming. Dick Alberini, Opera House Commissioner and curator for the Littleton Historical Museum, brought up the fact that the Museum is billed for a portion of the building’s water bill and, therefore, paying for a portion of the water bill for the Main Street plants. Karen said that she’d check into it and a portion of the LCC check will go to defray the costs for the Museum.

Old Business:

  1. George said that there is a small musical combo that is willing to play, for free, at the Opera House. Whatever money that is brought in at the door will go to the Opera House. It appears to be a win-win situation.  The group’s name is Copious Notes
  2. Rigging: George has tried contacting a number of structural engineers to get the job done, including local, Jeff Tirey. No one seems interested in doing the job at this point in time. Karen Noyes reminded the board that if the appropriated money isn’t used after 2 years, it goes back. If a contract is signed, the funds will be encumbered and won’t go back and won’t require a warrant article to use them. George Mitchell will contact Jeff Tirey to do a contract so we can lock in the funding and not lose it.
  3. Black Stage Curtains: George Mitchell received an answer from Upstage Players about the price of the black stage curtains that they created. The selling price for the curtains is $4,800. The board discussed this amount. Sue asked what the price was the last time that George looked into it from a different vendor. He said that is was approximately $4600. The members felt that the theater company was giving us a deal since the current price could be $4800 from another vendor. Sue asked George to research the cost of black, stage curtains from another vendor. Dick Alberini asked if he could get a price by the next meeting and if he’d send an e-mail to all involved of the estimate as well as the company. Dan Stearns expressed disappointment in their pricing in consideration of the relationship that the Opera House has had with the theater company.
  4. Lighting: The Town Manager is still working on a grant to establish funds for new, digital lighting. George Mitchell said that Upstage Players had a lighting problem during their last performance. A switch became defective. The lighting board is on loan from Littleton High School. The switch was replaced, but is a loaner. The replacement of the switch is the responsibility of the Opera House and an estimated cost is in the range of $900. Discussion followed. Karen Noyes will ask the Town Manager of his progress on the grant to purchase the new lights for it would not be prudent to spend $900 for a switch that would not be used if and when the new lighting is purchased and installed. LED lighting is highly expensive and the replacement price for the current lighting would be in the tens of thousands of dollars.
  5. Sound System: The Upstage Players wrote a grant to the Tillotsen Foundation.  They were not granted it. The current system is in pretty bad condition. It is approximately 35 years old and has its faults. George Mitchell, with his technical expertise, explained that we’d need a power booster, speakers, and amp. This upgrade would cost in the vicinity of $1,000 - $1500. This system would give us a base upon which visiting entertainers can plug their equipment in to. Sue Pilotte asked George Mitchell if he’d research what is really needed to make this “tie-in” system possible.
  6. Window Treatment Tower Room: new blinds have been added for black out purposes. The total cost is $2500. A deposit of 50% has been made towards the completion of this job.
  7. Karen Noyes asked if we felt that she served a purpose attending the meetings. All commissioners, including Sue, agreed that Karen is an asset to the meetings and an important conduit between the Town Manager and the commission.
  8. Sue Pilotte reminded us that all correspondence relating to the rigging, lighting, historical architectural engineering, etc in relationship to the Opera House must be routed via TOL e-mail for the purpose of keeping a paper trail.
  9. Dan Stearns asked about the printer that is being donated free by Porfido’s Market. Dick Alberini has not had the time to check into it and will do so.


New Business:

  1. Sue Pilotte sent out message from the historic preservation group in Concord, NH that deals with certain changes to be made to the building. It was decided that we’d wait until the head of that group makes a site visit. More to come.
  2.  Plywood over front door: a piece of plywood has been screwed over the front door. George Mitchell explained that the LED, outdoor lighting is so bright, that it is distracting during a performance when the middle doors are opened in the venue. Discuss followed for ways to remedy the situation. One was to make curtains that can be installed and removed with ease and isn’t so permanent. A conclusion was made that the piece would be cut to fit into the space and stained to match the surrounding woodwork or close to it. A date of June 26, 2018 was set for the removal for the plywood that is currently in place.


Meeting adjourned: 6:15 pm


Respectfully submitted,

Richard F. Alberini, Recording Secretary