NORFOLK, Virginia – On Saturday, April 13, the Virginia Opera will host its annual Hampton Roads Gala, its signature fundraising event in support of local opera-related education and outreach programs. This year’s event, which will take place at Harrison Opera House at 160 West Virginia Beach Blvd. in Norfolk, will be in honor of Ed and Linda Lilly, residents at Harbor’s Edge retirement community and longtime Virginia Opera advocates.
Ed Lilly currently serves on the statewide board of directors for the opera. He was chair of its Nominations and Governance Committee from 2013 to 2017 and sat on its Development Committee and Hampton Roads board prior to that. Linda Lilly, who currently serves on the opera’s Hampton Roads board of governors, previously spent 19 years as one of its state board members and 15 years as its secretary.
“Our planning committee felt very strongly about honoring Ed and Linda because of their overarching commitment to our organization,” said Lisa Sands, director of development at the Virginia Opera. “They have both served on the Opera board as well as on numerous committees for many years. This unstoppable and passionate couple is the poster children for what it means to give back to a community.”
The Lillys are ecstatic to be the guests of honor at the 2019 Hampton Roads Gala. “We were surprised to be selected for it,” said Ed Lilly. “The Virginia opera is one of our top priorities in the area, and the gala is a great fundraising opportunity, so we’re very happy to be involved.”
The Lillys’ generosity extends well beyond the opera house. Through the years, they’ve been involved with Norfolk Academy, Randolph-Macon College, American Cancer Society, Children’s Hospital of The King’s Daughters, Bon Secours DePaul Medical Center, Sentara Norfolk General Hospital, Eastern Virginia Medical School, and more. They both serve as board members for the Harbor’s Edge Foundation, which provides confidential financial assistance to residents who find themselves in need of support.
“We’re extremely proud of Ed and Linda for this wonderful recognition by the Virginia Opera,” said Neil Volder, CEO and developer of Harbor’s Edge. “The Lillys are some of our most caring, dedicated and compassionate residents, and this is very well deserved. Congratulations to them both.”