About Us

The Action Council Mission

First established in 1977 by SPAC founders Philly Dake and Jane Wait, the SPAC Action Council is a fundraising committee comprised of approximately 40 dynamic individuals who are professionals and civic leaders in communities around the Capital Region. The Action Council was created to work in unison with the Saratoga Performing Arts Center in public relations, planning of fundraising activities, and to support the SPAC mission: to present vibrant and diverse artistic performances that engage and enrich the community (be sure we have the newly created mission statement). Members work year-round to plan and present fundraisers that generate approximately $250,000 annually to support world-class residencies by the New York City Ballet and The Philadelphia Orchestra at SPAC. 

Executive Committee

Sequoyah Finkell – President 

Keeley Ardman DeSalvo – Vice President
Sue Hensley-Cushing – Secretary

Andrea Spungen – Corresponding Secretary 

Marsha Dolinsky – Treasurer  

Stephanie Markowich – Membership 
JoAnn Duquette – Nominating 

Nicole Sheeler – Immediate Past President 

Traci Jersen – President’s Advisor 

Current Members

Elaine Alfert
Keeley Ardman DeSalvo
Judy Aronstamm*
Deborah Barthold*
Maryann Brennan
Erika Browne
Nancy Casna
Jennifer Connors
Susan Crua
Marsha Dolinsky
JoAnn Duquette
Karen Eickhoff
Janet Equale
Victoria Fast Dunn
Sequoyah Finkell
Doris Fischer-Malesardi*

Geraldine Golub*
Maria Harrison 
Sue Hensley-Cushing 
Barbara Hoehn*
Traci Jersen*
Harriet Kalejs 
Robin Kappler*
Audra Lynch Herman 
Karen Macielak 
Wendy MacPherson 
Leah Margolis Nathan 
Stephanie Markowich
Sara Mazzuto Regan 
Christine McDonald 
Mary Murphy 
Maureen Parker 

Mary Lou Pinckney 
Sandy Ponton 
Nicole Sheeler Di Palermo
Katie Rocque 
Elissa Smith 
Nancy Smith 
Andrea Spungen 
Micheileen Treadwell 
Kim Vanyo 
Eileen Whelley  

*Action Council past presidents


To learn more about membership or for general questions about the Action Council, please contact Heather Varney  hvarney@spac.org or Stephanie Markowich smarkowich@aol.com. 

Calendar of Events

Members dedicate their time to hosting special events in order to raise funds for SPAC, in particular for SPAC classical programming and youth education.  


The Ballet Gala includes an elaborate gourmet sit-down dinner in the Hall of Springs hosted by the Action Council, and a festive lawn party hosted by the Junior Committee, just steps from the SPAC amphitheater. The centerpiece of the event is a special performance by New York City Ballet immediately followed by a fireworks show and live music with dancing under the stars. 


The Vivienne Anderson Children’s Program provides an afternoon of immersion into the captivating world of classical dance for hundreds of local children from the greater Capital Region. Participating youth organizations are given free tickets to a New York City Ballet matinee performance at SPAC, accompanied by a complimentary guided tour of the National Museum of Dance and a master class with a professional dancer from the NYCB company. 


The annual Lecture Luncheon lets guests participate in a day of lecture, shopping, and dining. Each year, a featured speaker indulges attendees on their work and a gourmet lunch follows with boutique shopping in the Hall of Springs.


While the Northeast Ballet Company performs excerpts from Tchaikovsky’s famed ballet, inspiring guests with dreams of fairies, toy soldiers, princes and an army of mice, attendees will be treated to a traditional English tea service complete with mini sandwiches, cookies and other finger foods. The event also features vendors who offer the perfect items for holiday shopping and Santa Claus himself!