Letter: What a winter at the Wheeler

It’s hard to believe that over 12 months has passed since I accepted the position of executive director at the Wheeler Opera House. And what a year it’s been! Our much-anticipated renovations are nearly complete. We experienced record-setting tickets sales for our festivals — MountainSummit in August and recently Aspen Laff Fest in February. We enjoyed numerous sellouts of incredible performances during our 2015-16 winter season. And we attracted new audiences of all ages to the Wheeler.

All of these milestones wouldn’t have been possible if not for the support of our Aspen community. On behalf of our staff and board of directors, I extend heartfelt thanks to our partners, our supporters and our team of volunteers — all of whom worked tirelessly behind the scenes to make the magic happen at the Wheeler. The artists we presented these past few months were unanimous in their praise about our venue, our team and, of course, our enthusiastic Aspen audiences! It is your support that keeps the Wheeler Opera House vibrant and ever-welcoming to locals and tourists alike. We are also grateful for everyone who has purchased and continues to purchase housing in Aspen. This still remains some of the best arts funding in the country — a 0.5 percent one-time tax on a home purchase. This funding allows everyone in the community to benefit from Wheeler programs.

There are many great things ahead of us, including a growing list of thrilling performers preparing to take the stage as part of the 2016-17 Winter Series. (Yes, we are already working on next year’s schedule!) So, mark your calendars now, and get ready to enjoy a variety of exciting events that will begin in early December.

But don’t despair as you pine for December (and fresh snow) to arrive. We have lots more planned before winter rolls around. Coinciding with the 100th birthday of our National Parks Service, this year’s MountainSummit: Mountainfilm in Aspen festival will be held Aug. 24 through 28 and features films dedicated to our country’s gorgeous national parks. Plus, we will launch a new series this fall featuring up-and-coming acts about to break big! So, stay connected to the Wheeler, because there’s lots more to come!

Gena Buhler

Executive director, Wheeler Opera House

Letter to the Editor