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Friday, 25 June 2021 13:15

SPAC Welcomes Four New Board Members: Reflects on 2020 & Looks to 2021 Featured

Written by Thomas Dimopolous
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Saratoga Performing Arts Center President and CEO Elizabeth Sobol at the onstage podium at SPAC, during the organization’s annual board meeting on June 17, 2021. Photo by Thomas Dimopoulos. Saratoga Performing Arts Center President and CEO Elizabeth Sobol at the onstage podium at SPAC, during the organization’s annual board meeting on June 17, 2021. Photo by Thomas Dimopoulos.

SARATOGA SPRINGS — At its annual meeting on June 17, Saratoga Performing Arts Center reflected upon the challenges and opportunities presented by 2020 and looked ahead to its reopening in 2021. 

“On Monday, May 18 of 2020, SPAC did the unthinkable. In the middle of glorious high spring weather, after 53 continuous years of presenting on our beloved and legendary stage, we cancelled an entire season and left the doors to the amphitheater locked -- a profound and solemn acknowledgement during some of the darkest, early days of the pandemic,” said Elizabeth Sobol, president & CEO of Saratoga Performing Arts Center at the Annual Meeting. “And yet, here we are. After what now seems an eternity, the amphitheater is open, the lawn is thick and green.”

SPAC’s season kicked off on June 5 with its signature education event, The Adirondack Trust Company Festival of Young Artists, celebrating the artistic achievements of more than 200 local student dancers, singers, musicians, poets and visual artists. Trey Anastasio kicked off the pop music season with a trio of shows June 18-20. 

Following a year of a shuttered amphitheater stage due to the COVID-19 pandemic, SPAC will welcome back all three resident companies – New York City Ballet, The Philadelphia Orchestra and Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center -- in addition to hosting its iconic Freihofer’s Saratoga Jazz Festival, a popular concert lineup presented by Live Nation, the return of Caffè Lena @ SPAC, and a special evening dedicated to Health Care Workers. 

During 2020, SPAC completed its major new capital project, The Pines@SPAC. The project restored park-like aesthetics to the grounds and opened up original site lines from the Route 50 Gate to the Victoria Pool, provided new and vastly expanded restrooms and concessions areas – and new measures for safety and security. Funding was provided by Live Nation, Empire State Development, and NYS Parks Recreation & Historic Preservation. 

SPAC’s total operating income for 2020 was $4.37 million, total operating expenses were $3.95 million, resulting in an operating surplus for the year at just over $400,000. That surplus will be used to navigate the 2021 season. 

“Nowhere is SPAC’s transformation more dramatically evident than in the presence of our new Pines@SPAC facility,” Sobol said. The project will have its official ribbon cutting later this season.

Carl DeBrule, Sean Leonard, Chris Mackey and Dr. Oliver Robinson were welcomed as new members of the SPAC Board of Directors. 

DeBrule has over 22 years of experience in business, operations and technical leadership experience driving high performance teams and operational innovations. His current role is with Johnson and Johnson Corporation as Vice President Global Applications Development Engineering Processes and Testing. 

Leonard is currently Chief Investment Officer and Partner with Graypoint LLC with 13 years in finance. He is a pragmatic, growth oriented and execution focused leader. 

Mackey has 34 years of diversified wholesale and retail automotive experience and success in the management and development of all aspects of franchised retail automobile dealership operations. He is 95% owner of Saratoga Ford and Saratoga Subaru. 

Dr. L. Oliver Robinson is currently the Superintendent of Schools for the Shenendehowa Central School District in Clifton Park.

2021 Season Dates

Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center: June 13 -August 29 at Pitney Meadows Community Farm
New York City Ballet: On and Off Stage, July 14 – 17
Opera Saratoga: Man of La Mancha, July 8-10
The Philadelphia Orchestra: Aug. 11 – 14

For tickets and more information, visit 

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