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High praise for Opera House

On the occasion of the recent 25th anniversary celebration of the newly renamed 1891 Fredonia Opera House Performing Arts Center, I’d like to congratulate and thank the staff and legion of faithful volunteers, all of whose talent, hard work and dedication over the past three and a half decades were evident during the Nov. 10th showcase performances.

Seeing the Newton Street Irregulars (version 2.0) onstage was a welcome blast from the past, as they were often featured musicians at local events my family attended for many years following our move here in 1982, and soon became valued friends, as well.

During the performance, my husband, Steve, and I sat in the same front-row balcony seats as we had for the grand reopening performance in 1994, but this time, when I surveyed the audience, I realized I knew almost all the people surrounding us from a variety of community activities during the intervening quarter century.

To me, this is the quintessential Dunkirk-Fredonia experience: the dozens of friendly and familiar faces encountered every time one steps out in public.

While those born and raised in one place probably take this for granted, as the child of a military family that was constantly on the move, I still find it strange and wonderful.

In this season of thankfulness, I’d like to say how grateful I am for the quirk of fate that brought us here 37 years ago (even though an August cold snap that caused frost in Mayville on our first night in Dunkirk made this southerner wonder if we’d made a big mistake).

The warmth and generosity of all the good people here who contribute to vibrantly successful projects like the Opera House more than make up for anything lacking in the weather.

Mary Rees is a Dunkirk resident.

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