The way Bradford resident and arts supporter Jeanie Satterwhite '64-'66 feels about opera star Marilyn Horne goes way beyond opera and was a key in her family's contribution to the Marilyn Horne Museum and Exhibit Center.
Six years ago, Satterwhite was a board member and devoted volunteer for the Bradford YWCA looking for the perfect woman to become the agency's honorary membership chairperson. The agency inquired whether Horne might be willing to fill the role, and she accepted the offer, made a video for the group, visited the facility during a trip to Bradford and spoke to the media on behalf of the YWCA.
“We did not choose Marilyn Horne solely because she was a world-renowned opera singer and a major influence in the opera world,” Satterwhite said of the YWCA, “and she did not choose to represent us simply because we admired her enormous talent.
“We chose each other because of our shared devotion to the mission of the YWCA of Bradford: To eliminate racism and prejudice, empower women, and promote peace, justice, freedom and dignity for all.
“Marilyn Horne had not paid lip service to this mission; she had lived it personally and fiercely in a time before it was 'politically correct' and easier to do so.”
With such a great admiration for Horne, the Satterwhites did not hesitate to sponsor an exhibit at the museum of Horne's life and work in downtown Bradford.
“I chose the section about 'Carmen' to honor my older sister Lynne, who danced and sang the part to me constantly when we were kids and got me to read the biography of Mario Lanza when I was 10,” she said.
The Satterwhite family gift of $15,000 supports the interactive exhibit of “Carmen,” featuring audio excerpts and still photos from Horne's performance in the title role of the 1972 production at the Metropolitan Opera in New York City.
The Marilyn Horne Museum is designed to introduce non-fans to opera and to treat fans to exclusive content.
The 3,400 square-foot Marilyn Horne Museum features artifacts, lavish costumes, interactive touchscreen exhibits, and a theater space that recreates the look and feel of an 18th-century Italian opera house.
Born in Bradford in 1934, Horne has been called “the greatest singer in the world” by Opera News and has performed for presidents and princes around the world. The idea for the museum came about when she donated her personal and foundation archives to the University of Pittsburgh.
The museum, located on Marilyn Horne Way in downtown Bradford, is open 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Saturday and 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Sundays. Admission is free.
Additional naming opportunities for the museum remain. To make a donation, contact Jill Dunn, executive director of institutional advancement at JDUNN@pitt.edu or 814-362-5091.