June Washikita O'Neill


I grew up on a cattle ranch in rural Southern Arizona, but we always had art and music in school. When I was ten, our school was bussed into town (Bisbee) to see an opera, The Old Maid and the Thief. It must have been part of an arts education program traveling around the state or the county (this was in the late ‘60s). It was a minimal production—practically no sets, piano accompaniment. It didn't matter, I was mesmerized. I loved it. Four years later, our class was taken to a dress rehearsal of Tosca at the Tucson Opera. The class was unruly but I was glued to the stage. I was completely smitten. I started taking voice lessons soon after. I didn't become a singer but I've spent my entire career working in the nonprofit arts sector. It has brought me joy. It is the one thing I truly care about.