Rites held for longtime Tulsa arts patron Trudy Sundgren
BY TIM STANLEY World Staff Writer
Friday, February 15, 2013
2/15/13 at 5:37 AM
As high as some of those young voices could go, it was still hard to hear them from New York.
So Trudy Sundgren, a Tulsa arts patron and philanthropist, decided that it was high time the distance was shortened.
A longtime member of the Metropolitan Opera's National Council, Sundgren in 1954 helped establish the opera's midwest regional council, with Tulsa chosen as one of three districts.
With the goal of finding new talent for the prestigious Metropolitan Opera - and aid in the development of the area's young singers in general - the council sponsored annual auditions.
The Tulsa district went on to produce many notable singers, for both the Met and highly respected opera companies around the world.
Not a singer herself, Sundgren - who did play the piano well - enjoyed taking the stage vicariously through the vocalists.
"That's what she was about - helping these young people," said her son, Allen Oliphant Jr. "Seeing them go on to greater things gave her a special thrill."
In 2005, when the Tulsa district celebrated its 50th year, Sundgren was the honoree at the anniversary dinner and reception.
Gertrude Oliphant "Trudy" Sundgren died Feb. 8. She was 97.
A service was held Wednesday at Memorial Park Cemetery Chapel under direction of Stanleys Funeral Service.
Born and raised in Tulsa, the former Trudy Ossenbeck was the wife of Tulsa oilman Allen Oliphant.
After his death, she married Dr. Pete Sundgren.
A charter member and former president of the Met's National Council, Sundgren not only helped put Tulsa on the operatic map as a regional audition site for Met hopefuls, but also for many years she sponsored a Young Singer Encouragement Award, presented annually to one of the participants.
Sundgren also enjoyed a long volunteer association with the Tulsa Philharmonic, Tulsa Opera and other local arts groups.
As a 2005 Tulsa Arts and Humanities Council Harwelden Awards honoree, she was presented the Katie Westby Lifetime Award for service to the arts in Tulsa.
Sundgren also had many non-arts-related civic interests. In 1982, she became the first woman named to The Salvation Army's Tulsa-area command board of directors. The organization later honored her as a life member.
Sundgren is survived by her son, Allen Oliphant Jr.; three grandchildren; and three great-grandchildren.
Original Print Headline: Longtime arts patron had her eyes on the future
Tim Stanley 918-581-8385
Trudy Sundgren: A longtime member of the Metropolitan Opera's National Council, Sundgren in 1954 helped establish the opera's midwest regional council, with Tulsa chosen as one of three districts. The Tulsa district went on to produce many notable singers