Opera Omaha Guild

The Opera Omaha Guild is a group of men and women dedicated to supporting the Company with fundraising and opera education efforts. Members plan and promote events such as Cotillion (etiquette classes for area sixth graders), an Annual Gala, and the award-winning Spirits of the Opera event.

2012-2013 Executive Committee

  • Lisa Hagstrom, President
  • Mark Maser, President Elect
  • Jillian Tuck, Past President
  • Madeline Madden, VP Education
  • Sarah Ruttle, VP Fundraising
  • Kate Morris, VP Membership
  • Jessica Jorde, VP Social
  • Patricia Waters, Corresponding Secretary
  • Lenny Thebarge, Recording Secretary
  • Melaine Hecker, Treasurer

Opera Omaha Guild Cotillion

Registration is now closed for the 2013 Opera Omaha Guild Cotillion. Please email opera@operaomaha.org for more information. 

The Opera Omaha Guild 2013 Cotillion Committee cordially invites all Omaha metropolitan area sixth graders to participate in a class in dining, dancing and social amenities instruction under the direction of:

Mrs. Mary Beth Budz
Mrs. Sandra Day
Mrs. Melinda Morath
Ms. Kaylee Stewart
Ms. Stacy Stohlman
Mr. Robert Vanderbosch

Cotillion – French word for formal ball – combines fundraising for Opera Omaha with lessons in social skills “disguised” as a dance class for sixth graders throughout Omaha.  A popular tradition through the 1960’s, Cotillion died out in the 1970’s.   The revival of Cotillion began in 1983 and has been popular ever since.  This will be the 28th consecutive season for the Opera Omaha Cotillion.

The primary purpose of each Cotillion class is to provide the opportunity for each student to mature socially.  Students learn the art of dining in a formal setting, communicating, being a proper guest as well as a host/hostess, and ballroom dancing.  The emphasis will be on helping students learn how to meet new people and how to get along with others; the learning of dance steps is incidental.



All children in the Omaha are who will be enrolled in the 6th grade for the 2013/2014 school year are invited to participate.


The Cotillion classes are held on six Sundays starting on September 22 through October 27, 2013. 
    - The Graduation Dinner Dance is Saturday, November 16, 2013.
    - The Reunion Party will be held in the spring.





Cotillion classes and dinners are held at the Marriott Hotel, 10220 Regency Circle.

The Graduation Dinner Dance is held at the Downtown Hilton




The Cotillion classes are held at 3:15 pm, 4:30 pm, 5:45 pm, or 7:00 pm. The dinner classes are held at 4:30 pm or 5:45 pm. Students are required to attend only one dinner class.(More classes may be added depending on enrollment.)


$210 per child (a portion will be tax deductible).  This includes the six (6) classes, one dinner class and the Graduation Dinner Dance.  Parents who join their child for the Graduation Dinner Dance will be charged $65 per person.   The optional Reunion Party in the spring is an additional fee of $35 per child.  



Girls wear school dresses or skirts and dress shoes (no tennis shoes or sandals and no high heels over two inches). Boys wear long sleeved dress shirts, slacks, and socks.  Cords are fine.  No sweat pants or sweatshirts.   No tennis, athletic or sandal type shoes are allowed.   Crepe-soled shoes (topsiders) are acceptable.  Graduation Dinner Dance attire consists of party dresses for the girls, coats, and ties for the boys.



The Opera Omaha Guild sponsors Cotillion.  This is a benefit for Opera Omaha and each Cotillion student’s name will appear in an Opera Omaha season program book.

History of Cotillion

In 1985, the first Cotillion classes of dance and etiquette began for 6th, 7th, and 8th grade students. As these classes grew, the format was changed to include only 6th graders. In ensuing years this activity has become a prime source of dancing, social graces, and fun for the young people. Throughout the 27 years of Cotillion classes, this program has grown from a beginning number of 120 students to over 300 in 2011. Many recent students are second generation attendees - their parents being some of the earlier graduates. Cotillion Reunion was introduced three years ago as way for former alumnae to re-connect and celebrate with friends.


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