Reflecting on a Year of Service

December 16th marks a year that I have been here at the Fairmont Opera House. These last few weeks have been hectic: three shows, a rental, and two shows yet this month. Not to mention the holidays, spending time with my family, and on occasion, sleep. As I approach a year as your Executive Director, I began thinking about my life, my career, and the future of both.

My whole life, I have been the “big guy.” I have been the one towering over people, physically larger than most of those around me. However, as I sat in my office this week reflecting on the year that I have been here at the Opera House, the work that we have done in the community, the number of people that have been in our building the last year, the kids we reached, and so much more, I began to feel very small compared to the big things we have accomplished.

To try and clear my thoughts, I took a walk around the building which eventually led me to the stage. As I sat on the front edge, I looked out at all the empty seats and my eyes landed on a single seat: Balcony Left, Row A, Seat 3. It was in this seat that I remember seeing my first show here at the Fairmont Opera House. I came to a school performance of “Lyle Lyle Crocodile” when I was in third grade. I was sitting next to my two best friends, leaning forward in our seats, enthralled by the magic that was occurring on stage.

That was 16 years ago. I remember it like it was yesterday.

As I came back to reality, I looked around at the beautiful trim work, the majestic iron chandeliers, the way the lights hit the seats, the curve of the balcony, taking it all in until I had scanned every inch of the room. I felt smaller than I ever had. Surrounded by an impressive theatre with an even more impressive legacy, I felt the presence of those that came before me: Hay, Nicholas, Arneson, and so many more. I felt the thousands of patrons; I imagined laughter, applause, cries of joy and sorrow. I thought of the stories the walls could tell if they could talk. I thought of the thousands of volunteer hours, community donations, and the blood, sweat, and tears that have gone into this facility.

It was then that I realized my true purpose as Executive Director. I have been given an opportunity and assigned a responsibility to be the curator of the history and the keeper of the legacy of the Fairmont Opera House. It is my job to ensure that when I am gone, this facility and organization remain stronger than ever. That being said, I promise to continue to take steps in the direction of continued success, further community involvement, and perpetuating our mission of bringing cultural experiences to our area. We are continuing a legacy that was left for us to live up to, and leaving one that is worthy of future generations.

”I may be here for a short while, gone tomorrow into oblivion or until the days come to take me away. But, in whatever part you play, be remembered as part of a legacy…of sharing dreams and changing humanity for the better. It’s that legacy that never dies.” -Unknown


Blake Potthoff
Executive Director
Fairmont Opera House, Inc.