After retiring, John Walker and his wife Angela moved to Kansas City in 2015 after 20+ years as senior executives working for the defense department in Washington, D.C.
The couple, avid ballet fans, looked for ways to get involved with Kansas City Ballet and make use of their newly-found free time. One of the first things on their list was to join the Ballet’s Guild. They began attending meetings and events and making connections. When there were opportunities to volunteer, they stepped up.
Taking the Lead
So, it wasn’t unheard of that they would find themselves in leadership roles. John was a little surprised to be asked to be Guild president for the 2019-20 Season, but he happily agreed to lead the 170+ members.
“The good thing for me…there was a core group of folks who knew everything worked. I always say: Find people who know what they are doing, and they make you look good. Let them do their thing,” John admitted.
John worked very hard to keep the members involved and informed, whether through emails, posting to Guild social media or speaking in person. He also helped with the Ballet’s archives helping to organize and process new additions to the collection.
Results and Challenges
When asked to estimate the number of volunteer hours Guild members contribute in a season, the total surprised him. “It’s 1000s of hours,” John shared.
After lots of planning over the summer in 2019, John was happy to kick off the season with a party at Lidia’s that included Guild members and KCB dancers. The Guild’s largest fundraiser the Nutcracker Ball was held in November. The second largest fundraiser: the Boutique at The Nutcracker performances followed. Guild members run both. John agreed that this year was not without its special challenges. COVID-19 hit KC in March and, like other groups, the Guild took to Zoom for the remainder of their meetings and events.
Future of the Guild
As he ended his term this past spring, John focused on what could be done, even in unconventional ways: “There is no certainty for the future of the ballet right now. So, we are just sort of waiting to see what happens. But having been in the military, I don’t just sit back and watch others work, I jump in and help.”
And, that is what the Guild will do as well, as they have always done.
Interested in Joining the KCB Guild?
Whether you show your support for Kansas City Ballet through events like the annual Nutcracker Ball or enjoy great benefits all season long through a Guild membership, your contribution will have a huge impact on Kansas City Ballet and the community it serves.
To make your contribution today, click here and simply select the name of the membership level you would like to join. If you have questions, please email Guild President Juliette Singer at firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.
Photography by Larry F. Levenson