Fine arts education can be of immeasurable value in school and beyond, and the Indianapolis Opera offers several innovative programs to local students and teachers.

MUSIC! WORDS! OPERA! In this national program, teachers guide students through the creative process of putting on their own opera. Along with music, students incorporate history, literature, art, and language research and application for a truly interdisciplinary approach to learning.

OPERA Á LA CARTE The Indianapolis Opera Ensemble presents music from opera and Broadway, providing background on the operas or shows, translations of the arias, and an insider’s look into what performers do. This program is designed for middle-school and older students and adults, both to entertain and to introduce them to the art of singing.

FINAL DRESS REHEARSAL Every season, Indianapolis Opera opens its doors for school groups to attend final dress rehearsals. English supertitles are projected for all operas, and study materials prepared specifically for these performances are provided. Groups can attend performances in Clowes Memorial Hall on the Butler University campus or at the Basile Opera Center.

About the Author: Rhett Bartley Rowe currently serves as Director of National Accounts at Omega Performance Corporation, where he manages relationships with large banks and credit unions across the US. Rhett B. Rowe was an Indianapolis Opera board member from 2001 to 2003.

Tips for Start-up Banking Companies, by Rhett B. Rowe

A start-up banking company’s early investments can mean the difference between a strong start that carries it far into the future, or a stumble that causes it to fold within the first year or two of operation. Business-service technology investments are one such crucial investment. Focus on technologies that will grow with the company rather than ones that must be shed in order to evolve. For example, develop a robust online banking platform that combines an accessible user interface with a plethora of options that allow clients to complete most, if not all, of their banking tasks remotely.

One common mistake is to open two full-service branches right out of the gate. Two full-service branches require two sets of experienced personnel and more management oversight than is affordable to give as a start-up. Finally, start-ups should also consider loans a risky investment. In periods of economic turbulence, many clients might find themselves unable to pay their loans. Instead, focus business development on acquiring low-cost deposits.

About the author: Rhett B. Rowe serves Global Wave Group as Senior Vice President and Managing Director of National Accounts, which entails building new client relationships using rapid-process loan processing software.

In 2010, Rhett Rowe was hired by KeyBank as Senior Vice President. Responsible for its commercial banking sector, Rowe introduced a new sales culture, increased sales revenue by $5 million, and obtained the largest account in the institution’s history. In recognition of his accomplishments, Rowe earned the firm’s National 2010 Rookie of the Year Award as well as the Extraordinary Leadership Award.

Based in Cleveland, KeyBank provides community banking in 14 states and offers corporate banking throughout the country. Possessing a network of more than 1,500 automatic teller machines and more than 1,000 physical locations, KeyBank manages close to $87 billion in assets.

KeyBank performs a myriad of services for its clients. Its everyday banking options include checking, debit cards, savings accounts, travelers’ cheques, and gift cards. People can apply for student, home equity, automobile, boat, or RV loans though the entity. The company also advises on investing in annuities, mutual funds, or cash and cash equivalents. Additionally, KeyBank places a heavy emphasis on community involvement, and it encourages volunteerism, civic leadership, and other philanthropic endeavors.

My term as board member of the Indianapolis Opera proved to be a memorable experience. The Opera opened its doors in 1975, presenting two 20th Century works, The Devil and Daniel Webster by Douglas Moore and The Telephone by Gian Carlo Menotti.

Since then the Indianapolis Opera has presented some of the greatest works of the genre, such as Bizet’s Carmen, Wagner’s Das Rheingold, Mozart’s The Magic Flute, and Gershwin’s Porgy and Bess. The most recent production was Gounod’s Faust (pictured) in May 2012.

The Opera seeks to build young audiences with its educational activities. It invites classes to attend final rehearsals of its productions and produces a short opera, Jack and the Beanstalk, for elementary school students. Schools can also arrange for their older students to stage a production of Gilbert and Sullivan’s classic HMS Pinafore, with the students handling everything from props to publicity and Opera Ensemble members singing the lead roles.

The Indianapolis Opera Ensemble offers a chance for young artists to develop. Members hone their skills in group classes, master classes, and performances for the educational outreach productions, as well as featured roles in the main productions.

About the Author: Rhett B Rowe currently serves as Director of National Accounts at Omega Performance Corporation, where he develops working relationships with large banks and credit unions.

Sigma Nu Fraternity Promotes Character Development and Service
By Rhett Rowe, Sigma Nu Alumnus

Since its inception in 1869, the Sigma Nu Fraternity has grown to over 177 active chapters and colonies on college campuses in the U.S. and Canada. It is the only social fraternity that has issued a firm position against hazing, instead promoting the value of Honor. The fraternity has been a leader in developing a “Risk Reduction” program that educates its members about unhealthy and illegal behaviors, regarding such topics as alcohol and substance abuse, fire safety, and chapter maintenance.

Sigma Nu promotes active involvement in volunteer projects and philanthropy. Helping Hand represents the official philanthropic and service project of Sigma Nu. Helping Hand devotes the month of April to projects where members volunteer their services. For philanthropic purposes, Sigma Nu directs its fundraising efforts to four nonprofit agencies. These organizations include the American Heart Association, St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital, Habitat for Humanity, and CHARACTER COUNTS! In 2011, Sigma Nu members raised more than $500,000 to benefit non-profit groups, and they contributed 100,000 volunteer hours to service projects.

About the author: Rhett Rowe represents the third generation in his family to affiliate with the Sigma Nu Fraternity. Mr. Rowe attended the University of Michigan, graduating with a BA in Economics. He later earned an MBA at the University of Detroit.