The director of the Cache Valley Center for the Arts says that he would hate to see the Utah Festival Opera cease operations.Wally Bloss said he feels the opera company provides a great service to the people of Cache Valley and many beyond, and with the UFOC occupying the Ellen Eccles Theatre for 12 to 13 weeks every summer, it would be a big loss to the venue to have the opera go away.”They’re only on the stage in terms of the public portion for about five weeks, but all the work before that, bringing the sets in and rehearsing and getting things ready, that would be a frustrating length of time to have the theater dark,” Bloss said.The comments from Bloss come just a day before the Cache County Council will consider giving up to $150,000 in restaurant/RAPZ tax money to help make up a budget deficit. Comments about the importance of the opera to the valley were echoed by Craig Peterson, a member of the Cache County Council and chairman of the committee that recommended the council give $150,000 to the UFOC.”I think the UFOC is very important to the valley,” Peterson said. “I think it brings in a large number of tourists, but more importantly, I think it has a positive impact on the image of the valley and also on providing cultural opportunities for the people of the valley.”While the UFOC would benefit greatly from and appreciate the $150,000 if it is granted by the County Council, it still leaves the group short of the total amount it needs to ensure continued operations. Gary Griffin, managing director of the UFOC, said a plan is in place to raise the rest of the money.”We are hoping to take that $150,000 i the county does approve it next Tuesday — and there’s a chance they wont — and use that as the start of a campaign this summer to raise the rest of it,” Griffin said. “We do need that money.”Griffin said the UFOC will use “some special ways” to raise the extra needed money from its patrons.
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