Ensure that present and future audiences experience the excellence of Lyric Opera.

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Young Friends of the Lyric

YFL-Logo---ColorYoung Friends of the Lyric provides an exciting outlet for young arts supporters in Kansas City to get involved in the community, meet other young adults and support the Lyric Opera of Kansas City.

We host a variety of events throughout the opera season, including free First Friday happy hours during the opera season at the Lyric Opera of Kansas City’s rehearsal facility in the Crossroads, happy hour events at trendy area bars and restaurants before performances, and more.

Young Friends of the Lyric memberships are available online now, click the link below to become a member today!  Memberships last 12 months from the time of purchase.  For questions call Ticketing & Patron Services at 816.471.7344.

Purchase a membership

Already have a membership?  Don’t forget to pick up your complimentary drink ticket(s) at your next Lyric Opera performance from the boutique at the Kauffman Center for the Performing Arts in the Brandmeyer Great Hall lobby.

For more information contact us at or find us on Facebook at


Meet our Board

Newell Bowman is a Kansas City native who has a heart for the arts. Opera was introduced to her for the first time through YFL members, and she has enjoyed every minute of it.  Her first opera was Die Fledermaus performed here at The Kauffman Center of Performing Arts!  Newell has been serving YFL as a board member since 2014 and is serving as Co-Chair of The Boutique, which you can enjoy during each performance at the KCPA with other YFL members and opera lovers!  Newell has been working in retirement living for 5 years and now works at Claridge Court in Prairie Village as a Sales Counselor.  She has previously served as a committee member for YFA, and is currently helping to develop MaestroKC with the KC Symphony.  You’ll also find her playing her guitar around town for local events, weddings, and worship teams.


Elliot Harrison Brown is Special Events Chair and unofficial Accessories Chair for the Young Friends of the Lyric. He fulfilled a lifetime dream by seeing Barbra Streisand in concert in August. He laughs loudly and loves an open bar. He’s also a baritone who sang with the Lyric for three seasons, but is now taking a break to invest more time in his international modeling career. No autographs please.




One of the newest members of Young Friends, Braden Dunbar joined us at the persuasion of Dan Meeker. Hansel and Gretel was her first opera experience. Braden is a Family Medicine physician in the Northland but lives and plays in the Crossroads. She is also a member of Junior League and, obviously, an overachiever.



Karla Deel lives in the East Crossroads in downtown Kansas City, our beloved rough-cut river town with a heart of gold. She enjoys too much red wine, eats too many scones from Mudpie Vegan Bakery, and helps to raise her feisty daughter, Salem, with her husband, Sterling Witt. She is the co-chair of communications for the Young Friends of Lyric, a group she’s delighted to serve. Her love of opera is deep and wide, but the grander the better. She can tell you a little more than you care to know about Kansas City’s pre-Prohibition distilleries, bootlegging tunnels and mob lore.  She is the editor and events planner at, an online magazine dedicated to the history and culture of Kansas City.


Brian Wayne Anthony Dykstra is the Vice Chair of Young Friends of the Lyric. He is a descendant of the 6th Earl of Sussex. He enjoys polo and a very sophisticated side eye. When he’s not watching Downton Abbey and ruing the fact that the second sentence is false, he is a theatre, opera, and bourbon aficionado who spends his 9 to 5 hours working in development and fundraising for Quality Hill Playhouse in downtown Kansas City. His better half was the mezzo-soprano Resident Artist for the Lyric for the 2016-17 season, Samantha Gossard. They both have an undying love for Chip and Joanna Gaines.


Amy Kuhnlein is a native Kansas Citian who spent her formative years traipsing around the east coast for work, including a brief stint in Scranton, PA, home of The Office.  Now that she’s returned to the motherland she is heavily involved in several groups that support Kansas City’s arts and cultural organizations including The Kansas City Public Library, the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art and of course, the Lyric Opera of Kansas City. Amy’s favorite thing about the opera is that it is the trifecta of arts: music, theater, and visual art all in one. Your one-stop-shop for culture and entertainment with a wine break at intermission- can’t beat that. Her favorite performance is Turnadot. You can find Amy managing the Boutique on performance nights so stop by and say hi and have a glass of wine with her. When not running amok at the Kauffman Center, Amy spends her day as a community and business relations manager for a large healthcare non-profit.


Daniel Meeker walked into the opera in 2009 and hasn’t missed one since. Dan thinks everyone should refer to Dan in the third person the way Dan refers to Danself, though rules are made to be broken. If a waking hours spare moment is available, he can be found at the Nelson reading the information cards obsessively. First Fridays you will see him eventually, with a beer in hand and often checking his phone for the International Space Station to appear in the night sky.



Natalie Vaccaro, YFL Communications Co-Chair, is a Kansas City native and current downtown dweller with a passion for the arts and sports. Being a resolute Hufflepuff, she has been a loyal, life-long Royals fan, and has been a Lyric Opera subscriber for several seasons. She’s kind of obsessed with collecting beautiful things; be it a pin from a vacation spot, a program from a moving performance or a piece of art from a KC artist. Ever with a song stuck in her head, Natalie is always looking for new places to explore and new experiences to be had.



Shannon Rolle currently serves as the Membership Chair for the Young Friends of the Lyric. She is also the Manager of Development Operations with the Lyric Opera. She is from Arkansas originally and has become a Kansas City local. She enjoys trying new things and discovering new and exciting spots in KC. Opera is a new passion for Shannon. Her background is in theatre, but Opera is quickly becoming her favorite art form. There is always a new journey and experience with each performance.



John Nichols is the Outreach Co-Chair and has a passion for all things Kansas City! He joined the YFL board in 2017 and will be an integral part of YFL’s growth strategy moving forward. John believes that the Kauffman Center is one of the most valuable crown jewels our fair city has, and looks forward to instilling a sense of civic pride in the arts through the promotion of our world-class Lyric Opera! He’s a Realtor with Reece Nichols on the Country Club Plaza as well as a Singer/Songwriter & is always down for a jam session!


Chris Roady, a native of Denver, has lived in Kansas City and been a part of its vibrant Arts community since 2007. His acting credits in town include performances at KC Rep, The Unicorn, Kansas City Actor’s Theatre, MET, The Fishtank, The Living Room, and Just Off Broadway Theater. Chris serves as Co-Chair of Outreach for Young Friends of the Lyric and is also Sales and Service Manager for Lyric Opera. Chris and his wife Mariah are also active social advocates who enjoy working and volunteering for multiple organizations in town promoting social justice and supporting survivors of domestic violence.

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Young Friends of the Lyric Committee Application – 2017-18 Season

Deadline for submission is June 26, 2017

Thank you for your interest in the Young Friends of the Lyric's Leadership Committee! The goal of Young Friends of the Lyric is to provide an exciting outlet for young arts supporters in Kansas City and develop a base of young people who will support the Lyric Opera throughout their lives. YFL is targeted to professionals looking to meet new people, expand their networks and support the arts and culture of Kansas City. Knowledge and experience of opera is not needed!!
    Please note: if you are not a current member, you are expected to join in order to serve in any leadership role.
    The Leadership Committee for YFL meets every third Tuesday of the month.
    Monthly meetings of the YFL Board are held the third Tuesday of the month at 6:30 p.m. at the Lyric offices.


Be a Part of Lyric

We are grateful for the passion and dedication that our patrons show through participation in groups supporting the Company.  Learn More