Della and Ira Gilman moved to the Schenectady area in 1967, and soon they became a fixture at SLOC. They had found another new “home.” They fit in like a hand and glove. Both were members of the Board of Directors at one time, Ira however, was mostly an onstage performer. His most notable role was Tevye in SLOC’s production of “Fiddler on the Roof” at Proctors Theater, 1987. Della was the offstage professional. Her credentials and expertise covered a range of departments.
- Audition Arrangements
- Ticket Sales/ Box Office
- Board Member
- VP Audience Services
- Patron (along with Ira)
- Driving force for the Assistive Listening System, which was dedicated to Ira, who was a hearing aid specialist.
Ira and Della Gilman won the Etta Moore award in, 1995
Ira and Della were named to the Thelma Zeh Gallery of Honor
My first contact with Della was in 1983, my first show with SLOC. “Music Man.” Della would be a frequent guest at rehearsals, urging us to become members. I remember getting my first SLOC card, I thought I had hit the lottery. I was now a member of an exclusive club. I was among giants. Della was courteous and persuasive. She was an excellent promoter of SLOC. Della held the interests of SLOC first. Her (and Ira’s) love for the company was always present. They were proud. And in later years Della was a person I had contact with, in regards to any historical information I was seeking out. She was always eager to help.
With Della’s passing another pillar of the “old guard” has gone into a better life. Later in her life, even with all her physical ailments and challenges, Della was a constant presence at all SLOC performances. Upbeat and with a warm smile on her face.
Della and Ira were very proud of their family, especially their grandchildren, and like may SLOC couples their own children have also joined in. Jeff has done chorus work, while Jodi has filled many shoes, from performer to Producer: “Babes in Arms.” One generation passes the torch of community theater to another.
In the future, when I see Jodi at a SLOC production, I will also see Della. Down Stage Audience Right, first row. Rest in peace my friend…and thanks for all you have given to Schenectady Light Opera Company!!
Jan. 9, 2022
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