Western Plains Opera Company's mission as an organization is to blend the best of professional, community, and Minot State University resources to produce outstanding opera in the north central plains and to foster in local youths the love of good singing and good singing practices.
Western Plains Opera brings a singular focus to the North Dakota region by building on established opera traditions that began with "The Student Prince" in 1976.
We are a small opera company with a growing reputation for outstanding performances. We proudly provide an air of distinction for Minot's artistic community, offering several important musical events annually. The fully-staged Fall production in the elegant Ann Nicole Nelson Hall serves as our centerpiece.
We engage professional principal singers, nationally acclaimed conductors, and innovative stage directors. The remaining cast, chorus, and orchestra participants are selected among Minot State University students, Minot State University Faculty, and surrounding community members.
Furthermore, we are the sponsoring organization for the musicals and concerts of the Western Plains Children's Chorus.
Board of Directors
President | Eric Furuseth
Vice President | Richard Hagar
Secretary | Jennifer Brenna
Treasurer | Maren Furuseth
Co-General Director | Efrain Amaya & Carlos Vieira
Children's Choir Director | Rebecca Petrik
Business manager | Elizabeth Colby
Maestro Efrain Amaya, current Co-General Director and Associate Professor of Music at Minot State University
Dr. Carlos Vieira, current Co-General Director and Associate Professor of Music at Minot State University
General Director History
Following Wayne Nelson's many years as executive director, Julianne Wallin filled the role for a decade, 1984-94. Her tenure was book-ended by successful productions of Johann Strauss's "Die Fledermaus."
Dr. Ken Bowles took over as general director in the autumn of 1994 and served as executive director until just recently (2015). He worked hard to keep the group's tradition vibrantly alive and reminded us always to seek the goal of ever greater achievement. He remains an active member of the board after handing the position over to Dr. Mark McQuade.
Dr. Mark McQuade served as the General Director of the Western Plains Opera Company for two years (2015-2017). He infused great traditions of the past with new vision and energy. McQuade brought nearly 20 years of experience as a performer and director of opera.
Currently, Western Plains Opera Company relies on two Co-General Directors, Maestro Efrain Amaya and Dr. Carlos Vieira.