MOTE RANCH — Few could kill their spouses and get away with it.
But even fewer husbands have wives who beg them to do it.
As opera singers Randy Locke and Carol Sparrow sit around their kitchen table, Sparrow’s face lights up as the conversation turns to her death scene in the opera, “Carmen.” The art of making a stabbing look real, Locke says, is one that requires not only good timing but also technical precision and self-control.
Sparrow begs to show off the scene they’ve mastered perfectly over the last 30 years.
“I’ve probably killed her over 1,200 times,” Locke says, after jarring an imaginary knife into his wife’s side.
Sparrow just grins as she collapses dramatically on the floor.
The couple won’t be singing to kill each other this weekend. Instead, they will be singing to save lives.
Locke and Sparrow, residents of Mote Ranch, will host their 10th annual “Opera for Animals: Singing is Saving” fundraiser at 5 p.m. Jan. 15, at the Sarasota Yacht Club, 1100 John Ringling Blvd., Sarasota. The couple will perform classical and popular opera songs, as guests also enjoy elegant cuisine, a silent auction and. Three “emerging” artists also will perform at the event, this year themed “TENors, Tabbies and Terriers,” which benefits animal rescue groups.
Reservations are required (see below).
Locke and Sparrow always have been animal lovers, but their desire to help save animals — in addition to the ones they adopted — developed more than a decade ago when they traveled with a friend to visit Best Friends Animals Sanctuary in Utah. The couple realized they couldn’t open an animal rescue of their own, but they could contribute what they had — their voices — for the cause of helping homeless pets.
When they returned to the East County, they began offering their talents to help raise funds for local animal rescue groups. Opera for Animals — Singing is Saving, or OASIS, formed as a non-profit in October 2001, and the couple hosted its first OASIS benefit concert about six months later. Since then, they’ve raised more than $150,000.
The husband-and-wife team said they sacrificed having children of their own because of their careers, and instead have always had cats.
“They were really like our kids,” Locke said, noting their cats traveled to places such as Switzerland and Germany with them. “They were key for our well-being.”
“Since (animals) have no voice, we raise our voices for them,” Locke said. “There are so many great
causes. You have to pick one.”
Although OASIS normally is held at the Palm-Aire Country Club, Locke and Sparrow decided this year to host the event at the Yacht Club to “do something special” for the 10th anniversary and also to accept the offer of supporters Garo Partoyan and Bev Meadows, who are members there.
Next year, however, the event will return to Palm-Aire in April, and it will be expanded to include a golf outing, Sparrow said.
“We’re looking for new ways to bring people in and make it more festive,” Locke said.
For information, visit www.operaforanimals.org.
Contact Pam Eubanks at [email protected].
TENors, Tabbies and Terriers
WHEN: 5 p.m. Jan. 15,
WHERE: Sarasota Yacht Club, 1100 John Ringling Blvd., Sarasota.
CHAIRS: Marci and Mark Weibel
TICKETS: $100 per person
INFORMATION: 351-1007 or www.operaforanimals.org