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Meet The Board of Directors


Keith Swann President

Keith Swann, a resident of Plainfield since 1994, recently retired from Vermont PBS where he served as producer and director since 2006. He received his BA in Anthropology from the California University system and an MFA from UCLA’s Film/Television program. 

His career began at NBC in Los Angeles and then onto television production in Boston. He has designed and taught video production courses, but his first loves were theater and music, therefore his commitment to the mission of the Plainfield Town Hall Opera House.


Kathy Light


Kathy is a former public school music teacher and education coordinator at Northern Vermont University.  She plays the clarinet, harp, guitar, recorder and other Renaissance winds and also sings in a variety of groups ranging from a klezmer band, an Early Music trio, a women’s medieval chorus, and an Indonesian gamelan orchestra.  She enjoys teaching and performing at all levels and sharing her love for all kinds of music with the Central Vermont community. She also loves hiking, gardening, biking and improving her Spanish.  She spent the summer of 2018 walking 550 miles across Spain on the Camino Frances, which became the impetus for a multi-media presentation that included photos, live music and reflections about a journey on foot.  She is dedicated to preserving the Plainfield Opera House as a community arts venue, continuing to present high quality programming and maintaining the beautiful building as a local treasure.


Dave Strong
Executive Director

Dave is a retired Social Studies and English teacher. He has been a maple sugarmaker since 1985. An amateur historian, he helped to re-establish the Plainfield Historical Society shortly after moving to Plainfield in 2002. As a member of the Plainfield Select Board, he led the drive to restore and improve Plainfield’s historic Town Hall Opera House after it was shuttered in 2011. The capstone of this five-year effort was the creation of the Friends of the Town Hall Opera House. Dave’s love for history and historic preservation is matched by his passion for all kinds of music and art, which he believes serve an integral part in building and maintaining a successful community. From a musical family, Dave was in Gilbert and Sullivan shows when he was young, and later performed in old-time music groups.  He can sometimes be found playing old-timey music on the banjo, and singing old songs, behind his maple syrup booth at the Plainfield Farmers Market.


Karl Bissex

History and items of interest


Resident since 1980

Married to Mary Trerice for 43 years

Raised two sons Daniel and Owen

Daniel is a musician (bass) and Owen is an Artist (sculptor)

School board member in the 1990’s

Selectboard member 2001 to 2007 – 3 years chair

revolving fund committee-active

town hall committee- 1985 restoration

basketball and soccer coach 1989-1993

founded and operated business from 1985 to 1995-DMS Inc-engineering and fabrication

Started KAB Enterprises, Inc from 1995 to 2020

On board of Summit School of Music in Montpelier-5 yearsand feel my buiness 

co-host of Occasional Concerts-house concert series started in 2005 and put on hold in 2020


I have a strong interest in the arts and feel my business and concert experience can add to the activities of the Plainfield Arts board

As 2022 comes to a close we say goodbye and a heartfelt thanks to board members Kathy Light and David Strong. Kathy will continue to be involved in our concert series which she has shepherded from the start. Dave will continue to advise the board in an unofficial role. He has been THE motivating force for moving the Opera House forward. We welcome Karl Bissex as our newest board member.


Lori Stratton

Lori’s varied jobs have primarily involved environmental protection, health, education or theater. As an environmental toxicologist, she provides environmental health assessments through her consulting business, “Safer World Environmental”.  She is an avid long distance bicycle rider, loves to hike in the woods, identify plants, and swim in the ocean. She is often seen behind the scenes stage managing, lighting and organizing at different community theater activities in the area. Among her various interests, skills and occupations, her love of theater and good music makes being a board member of the FPTHOH, an attractive pursuit. As a technical person, she enjoys being on the tech committee to help maintain and improve lighting and other practical aspects of the beautiful historic building of Plainfield Town Hall Opera House. 


Steven Light
Events coordinator

Steven is a multi-instrumentalist and music teacher. He plays a wide variety of instruments ranging from Spanish bagpipes to lute, to trumpet. He is a founding member of the early music ensemble, The Fyre and Lightning Consort, Vermont’s finest (and only) Nisht Geferlach Klezmer Band and Gamelan Sulukala, a Javanese gamelan that plays American and Indonesian music. He was a high school music teacher for 30 years and recently retired from teaching at Northern Vermont University - Johnson where he taught music history, world music and music education courses. He was also the director of the NVU Concert Band. He serves as coordinator of events and programming for the Opera House and helps with website and newsletter development. Steven is active in helping to foster the arts in Central Vermont and is committed to the Plainfield Opera House being a vibrant center for the arts and community.


Sarah Harding

Sarah is a retired law professor with a research focus on cultural heritage but much of her professional life has been devoted to working with nonprofit boards in arts and education. She was the founding board chair of a start-up opera company in Chicago, Haymarket Opera Company and has been very active on the board of Interlochen Center for the Arts in Northern Michigan. Currently she is vice chair of that board and part of a three-person leadership team that advises Interlochen's President. She has also been involved in a number of educational boards, including serving as the founding board chair of a start-up highschool in the Chicago area, Beacon Academy. Sarah is deeply committed to community arts and eager to help the Plainfield Town Hall Opera House thrive as a hub of arts and community engagement in Central Vermont.


Donny Osman

Donny Osman has a long history in theater. He founded and directed The Two Penny Circus which toured New England and beyond for ten years.  Donny toured his own solo shows and taught theater worldwide for more than twenty years. He played a leadership role in founding Circus Smirkus. Donny was the Director of the Vermont Governor’s Institute on the Arts for over two decades. He served three terms as a State Representative in the Vermont Legislature. Donny says that for the last few years between riding his bike in the summer, and skiing in the winter and watching Netflix year round there are not enough hours in the day.  

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Dan Fingas

Dan Fingas has a nearly 2 decade career in social justice work in Vermont, New York, and Michigan.  Dan has been focused in creating community and making positive change in the communities he has served and currently serves as the Vermont Organizing Director for Rights and Democracy.  Dan brings a wealth of fundraising, volunteer management, and event planning experience.  Dan is a 2004 graduate of Albion College and has been married to wife Mo Lynch since 2015. They live in Plainfield.


Leah Wilhjelm

Leah’s professional life has been a mix of arts and financial administration in a variety of non-profit organizations, including more than a decade as the Executive Director for the Green Mountain Youth Symphony. She currently works on the loan servicing team at Vermont Economic Development Authority. Leah has also spent many happy years in theaters. She’s lost count of the hours spent in band and chorus, in orchestra pits for musicals, and recently playing in gamelan orchestra, let alone time on stage in musical theater as a youngster and as an enthusiastic drama program supporter while her daughters were in school. The plethora of historic opera houses in New England was a delightful surprise when Leah moved to Vermont over 20 years ago. Plainfield Opera House is a local gem and Leah’s looking forward to ensuring that this space has an active future so many others can fall in love with theaters. Leah also enjoys knitting, reading, doing puzzles, and getting out in a kayak during the warmer months. 

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