WILMINGTON, Del. – A senior development and advancement professional with a strong track record in nonprofit education fundraising, a long-established and respected corporate litigator, and an information technology professional with expertise in corporate training are the newest additions to the now 18-member board of directors of OperaDelaware, the arts organization announced today.

Chad E.G. Kifer of Hockessin joined the board in January. He is Director of Advancement at Wilmington’s Padua Academy. In this role, Kifer has overseen programs that have delivered millions in grants and individual donations over a seven-year period. Prior to joining Padua Academy, Kifer was Executive Director of Constituent and Alumni Affairs for the Intercollegiate Studies Institute, based in Greenville. Kifer is an honors graduate of Clarion University of Pennsylvania, and holds a Master’s Degree in Political Science from Miami University. He is actively engaged in his community where his work has included service to The George Washington Society and the Society of St. Sophia.

“There’s nothing more fulfilling than joining an organization that is energized by its reinvention, and is growing fiscally and artistically,” Kifer said. “Right now, the sky is the limit for OperaDelaware. I’m excited about the Spring 2017 festival, and about helping the company broaden its base of support.”

Samuel A. Nolen of Wilmington has practiced corporate law in Delaware since 1980. He is a director of the law firm Richards, Layton & Finger in Wilmington, where he is an experienced corporate litigator in the Delaware Court of Chancery and the Delaware Supreme Court. Nolen is a trusted advisor to individuals, corporate boards of directors and management on corporate governance, transactional and control dispute issues. He also is an expert in mergers and acquisitions and director liability. Nolen is a graduate of Vanderbilt University, where he earned a B.A. degree in German and Political Science. He received his J.D. degree from Washington and Lee University School of Law. His professional honors include The Best Lawyers in America and Who’s Who in American Law. Nolen’s volunteer work in his community includes current service to the Delaware State Bar Association’s Council of the Section of Corporation Law, past service on the Delaware Supreme Court Board of Bar Examiners, and as past chair of the Lex Mundi Pro Bono Foundation’s board of directors.

Nolen said he has been captivated by opera since his youth.

“Joining an opera company that is presenting beautiful, top-notch performances right here in Delaware is a gift when you love the genre as much as I,” Nolen said. “Innovation is the hallmark of everything OperaDelaware is doing today.”

Delaware native Sharon Gaudino of Pike Creek was also appointed to the OperaDelaware board in January. She is Director of Learning Services for Computer Aid, Inc. (CAI), a Delaware information technology (IT) services firm. She specializes in corporate training and consulting, and prior to CAI, worked for MBNA America, WSFS Bank, and Wesley College. Gaudino holds undergraduate and graduate degrees from the University of Delaware in Psychology and Business Administration, respectively. A dedicated community volunteer, Gaudino served the Ronald McDonald House as a member of the Red Shoe Society and an active volunteer for many years. She also actively serves the Greater Delaware Valley chapter of the Multiple Sclerosis Society in coordinating and chairing the annual MSquerade fundraising event here in Wilmington. She is an alumna of the highly respected Leadership Delaware Institute Class of 2015.

“Unlike many on our Board, I am new to the world of Opera. In fact, I had never seen a full opera until last year’s Shakespeare Festival. It never surfaced in my sphere of interest until recently,” Sharon shared. “I believe this is probably the case for many who have never had exposure to this incredible art form. I am excited to share my experience with others to broaden our reach in the community.”

“OperaDelaware is delighted to welcome Chad, Sam, and Sharon to our board of directors,” said Brendan Cooke, OperaDelaware’s General Director. “They are rock stars in their professions, and they bring fresh and unique ideas and experience to our board, plus the riches of their expertise in their respective fields. These talents and skill sets will help to ensure that our company remains on a growth trajectory for years to come.”

The new board members will serve renewable two-year terms.

OperaDelaware’s Spring 2017 Festival, a celebration of the 225th anniversary of Gioachino Rossini's birth, will feature Cinderella (La Cenerentola), his rarely-performed tragedy, Semiramide, and Petite messe solennelle — all at The Grand Opera House in Wilmington. For tickets and more information on the Festival, go to




OperaDelaware celebrates its 72nd season in 2016-2017. OperaDelaware is the nation's 11th oldest professional opera company. Our mission is to enrich the lives of people in the Mid-Atlantic region through meaningful arts education and the production of grand opera and intimate opera concerts, featuring established professional and emerging talent.

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