Alan Medak started working with the Los Angeles opera community in the early 2000's with the Casa Italiano Community Opera Company where he was principal horn and a frequent conductor. Currently, Alan is the driving visionary force behind the Vineyard Touring Opera Company (VTO), where he serves as its president and primary producer. Founded in 2008, the VTO functions as a community opera company dedicated to promoting quality opera for all. As Medak describes, “Our orchestra consists of serious amateurs and semi-professionals who love opera. They want opportunities to play opera and it just isn’t available with the typical community orchestra.”
One of its crowning achievements, the VTO developed a new original opera entitled, Golondrina, about a little-known chapter in Los Angeles’ history. All Angelinos know about Olvera Street, but very few know how the historic downtown Los Angeles district came into being. Golondrina tells the story of this historic district through music and song, highlighting the determined efforts to preserve Olvera Street’s historic plaza and buildings. In addition to public performances, the VTO also plans to develop a specialized K-12 version of the opera to be presented in public schools.
Originally from the Chicago area, Alan arrived in Claremont in 1986 to work in energy conservation. He chose Claremont for its Midwest feel, tree-lined streets, craftsman homes, walking distance to the Claremont Village, and its ideal environment for raising a family. During his 30 year career working in the energy efficient lighting industry, Alan started the Lampcraft Company which designs, manufactures, and sells lighting for musicians and aquariums, while also undertaking private business and municipal lighting projects.
Describing his musical background and training, Alan states, “An influential teacher who stank of cigars introduced [me], a young 10 year-old to horn, music theory, solfeggio, and conducting. Music at school also helped me avoid the stinging cold Chicago winter during recess.”
Alan would like to see Claremont increase and publicize home chamber music events, and for the City of Claremont to have it’s own large performance venue that is available and affordable to local groups. Medak concludes, “Perhaps like truffle hunting (which I’ve only read about), Claremont is like a dense forest with people of immense talents just waiting to be uncovered and discovered.”
Photography by Anthony Brooks