The Gilbert & Sullivan Very Light Opera Company was founded in 1979, by Dick Fischel and Jim Hart. The Articles of Incorporation is the document that subsequently, formally established the Gilbert & Sullivan Very Light Opera Company as a Minnesota Nonprofit Corporation, effective January 29, 1980. The company was founded “to present the operas of Gilbert and Sullivan and other entertainments solely for educational, literary and charitable purposes.”
The Bylaws of the Gilbert & Sullivan Very Light Opera Company is the company’s constitutional document. It establishes the structure of the company and rules by which the company operates, including the issues of company Membership and the establishment and functioning of the company’s Board of Directors. The Bylaws “may be amended, altered, or revoked and new Bylaws may be adopted.” Such changes have occurred during the history of the company, most often in order to codify current, but hitherto undocumented company practices, including the company practice of Grandparenting.
The Gilbert & Sullivan Very Light Opera Company is required by its Bylaws to hold an “annual meeting of the members of the corporation for the election of the Board of Directors.” The company holds its annual meeting in the spring or early summer. The annual meeting marks the end of one company season and the beginning of the next. All company members are invited to attend and to vote on company business. In addition to the election of the Board of Directors, the meeting also includes a review of the previous season’s production, including a Treasurer’s Report and a discussion of the Company Surveys. If Bylaw changes have been proposed, they are discussed, debated and a vote taken to adopt or reject the changes. Information is provided about the Summer Concert and the next season’s main stage production, including important dates. Decisions made at the annual meeting also include the selection of the subsequent season’s show.
The Gilbert & Sullivan Very Light Opera Company’s Board of Directors consists of eight company members, elected for one year terms by the company’s members, at the Annual Meeting. The members of the Board of Directors serve as representatives of the company membership, as a whole, and are responsible, in their various capacities, for facilitating the production of the current season’s show and conducting other important company business that may arise during the course of the season. The Board of Directors meets approximately once a month. All Board Meetings are open to company members, as is the business conducted at the Board Meetings and recorded in the Minutes.
The Gilbert & Sullivan Very Light Opera Company encourages all to become involved in the company and its productions and invites those involved to become members of the company. Membership, however, is entirely voluntary and is not a requirement for involvement in the company or in its productions. Membership in the Gilbert & Sullivan Very Light Opera Company provides members with the privileges of voting on company business at the Annual and other company meetings. Company membership is a requirement for election to the Board of Directors. To qualify for membership, one must have been involved in a company production, in any capacity, including performing on stage, in the orchestra, working on the stage crew, working as a production staff member, or volunteering, in any capacity, including set and costume construction, ticketing, ushering, etc. The annual dues for membership are $5.00 which must be paid to the company’s Treasurer.