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The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

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One step away
June 8, 2024

Setting the stage

Photo by File

MSC OPAS has brought numerous shows to A&M’s stages, including Lyle Lovett, “Jersey Boys” and “Beauty and the Beast.”

MSC OPAS runs the show — literally.
As Texas A&M’s renowned performing arts organization, MSC OPAS partners students and staff in entertaining and inspiring A&M students and Brazos Valley communities with diverse fine art performances.
MSC OPAS sets a precedent for uniquely engaging students and community members with the performing arts. In 1972, Earl Rudder and Wayne Stark pulled together community support and funding to found MSC OPAS as a chance for students, many of whom had never seen a live performance, to experience world-class productions firsthand.
MSC OPAS has grown exponentially since its founding, hosting shows from Willie Nelson to “Les Miserables” and Yo-Yo Ma to “Jersey Boys.” The executive director of MSC OPAS and student committee adviser, Anne Black, discussed how OPAS goes about securing big-shot titles for Texas A&M’s stages.
“A lot of our ability to attract shows comes from our long-standing relationship with the industry. We see a lot of product,” Black said. “We go to New York as a group, students andstaff — and we spend 18 hours a day seeing products for consideration.”
As an organization with upwards of 100 student members, four of whom serve as paid staff members, MSC OPAS relies jointly on the student body and community for support and participation in order to carry out its daily functions. These student-staff relationships are the foundation of OPAS, and the students work with the staff to perform most of the organization’s functions, Black said, including securing performances, publicity and running each performance.
“We’ve been able to maintain and hang on to the student staff partnership, keeping our students involved in the day-to-day business,” Black said. “There are all kinds of ways to be involved. You can even sign on to just work the shows and see the shows for free!”
Although student membership has decreased slightly for MSC OPAS over time, biology senior Taylor Rowland, the director of Education Outreach, said he hopes this will change.
“You can always find time for the things you really love. I find that once people really put in a little time to OPAS, they want to put in more time,” Rowland said. “They find that they love the people that they’re working with; they love the jobs they’re doing.”
Rowland said his favorite performance was Willie Nelson and the show’s ability to represent the unity created through MSC OPAS.
“Up front there was a 90-year-old couple, and literally right next to them were two college students,” Rowland said. “I’ve never seen a performance like it; so many different people of all ages all came together and had an amazing time.”
Amanda Ibarra, chair of MSC OPAS and allied health senior, said students are a key part of what makes OPAS unique. With the newly created Reserve Path, students who don’t have the time for another organization’s demands, can still get involved by working show nights. Moreover, she hopes as MSC OPAS continues on, more and more people will get involved in whatever manner possible.
“I hope that into the future students continue to enjoy and love the arts, that’s what OPAS does for the campus,” Ibarra said. “We’re bringing something that’s not really accessible to everybody, but we make it accessible here and do what we can for the students, not only those involved, but also those that come in and see shows.”
To get involved or purchase tickets, you can learn more on MSC OPAS’ website:

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