Volunteer Notes December 2008

The newsletter for Orchestra Volunteers

 


The Newsletter for
Symphony Orchestra Volunteers

December 2008

Working: A Message from the Volunteer Council President

Seeking: Member Recruitment

Introducing: Meet Our Partner, KC Skolnik

Sending: Marketing Our Message

Learning: Enrichment

Bonding: Hospitality

Teaching: Book Review

Conference 2009!

Hearing From You

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VOLUNTEER NOTES is published bi-monthly by the Volunteer Council of the League of American Orchestras, the nonprofit service and educational organization dedicated to the development of American symphony orchestras and to the cultural vitality of the
communities they serve.
 
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Working: A Message from the Volunteer Council President

Volunteer Council President Judy Christl

Volunteer Council President Judy Christl

Dear Symphony Volunteers, Have you ever wondered what a Volunteer Council member does throughout the year? Members in their first year serve on three committees to get a feel for things. After that first year, each Council member chairs a committee and serves on at least two others. It is through committees and committee chairs that the Council produces all of its work. The Council’s work hinges around three meetings each year, in October, January, and at the League’s National Conference in June. 

This past October, we gathered at the League headquarters in New York City for an intensive three-and-a-half days of committee work. We reviewed information from you (gathered through our Touch-Base Calls), discussed evaluations from our Regional Workshops, and planned two Regional Workshops for Spring 2009. As we do each October, the Council also read all of the Gold Book Online project submissions to select this year’s award-winning projects. All in all, it was a busy and exciting meeting. Our Conference Committees developed plans to address your needs and to help you strengthen your partnership within your orchestra’s family. This was a thinking meeting; when we gather in January, it will be time for planning and implementation. 

Throughout the year, while some committees plan services, others ensure that our work is in line with the goals of the League. Strategic Planning works year-round, looking at the League’s work, developing and implementing a strategic plan for the Council that combines volunteer need with the League’s strategic goals. Meanwhile, the Member Recruitment Committee looks for potential new Volunteer Council members from former volunteer association presidents, and various other committees work to improve our communication with each other and with you.  

As is typical of volunteers, we pack as much as we can into our time together. Then we return to our homes across the country and get to work. You are an important part of this process; we’d like you to be active participants and challenge us to serve you more effectively. Please let me, or any Volunteer Council member, know of your challenges, interests, and successes, so that we can serve you as effectively as possible. 

As always we look forward to meeting you, and spending time together at the League’s Conference in Chicago. This Conference promises even more music than in past years, so we are all in for a real treat!   

Judy Christl
Volunteer Council President
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Seeking: Member Recruitment

If you are interested in inspiring and motivating orchestra volunteers nationwide, the Volunteer Council could be your opportunity to make a difference. 

The Council is made up of nationally recognized community and orchestra volunteer leaders who have demonstrated outstanding support for their orchestras and are committed to the goals of the League of American Orchestras. Our work is twofold: to provide guidance to leaders of orchestra volunteer associations, and to inform the League of critical volunteer issues, aiding their work for the entire orchestral field. 

The Council’s Member Recruitment Committee’s main focus is to nominate qualified candidates for membership in the Council. We routinely contact presidents of orchestra boards and volunteer associations, and with 571 volunteer organizations in our universe, this is quite a network!   

Each year, during the League’s National Conferences in June, Council members gauge interest from those volunteers who attend the Conference. Our former Council members (Sustainers) serve as an important resource by recommending and supporting candidates.  

If you would like to learn more about nomination to the Volunteer Council, we are eager to discuss eligibility and the responsibilities of membership with you. You can make a difference! 

Click here for more information and nomination forms that will allow you to begin the process. The Member Recruitment Committee will take it from there! 

LaDonna Meinders & Herb Rossmeisl
Membership Recruitment Co-chairs

Introducing: Meet Our Partner, KC Skolnik

KC at a music festival in Leeuwarden, Netherlands

KC at a music festival in Leeuwarden, Netherlands

When you receive an email from the Volunteer Council, many times it is signed by KC Skolnik. So who is she? KC is the League’s Senior Manager of Board and Volunteer Services. Her role is to advocate and to manage programs and services for orchestra volunteers and board members.  

In addition to logistics, consulting, and managing the programs put into place for volunteers, KC works as the Council’s partner, listening to our ideas and helping us to execute the programs volunteers need. Her larger role is to understand our work and help us as Council members to collaborate with League staff and policy as we develop programming for volunteers together.  

KC and the Volunteer Council president work to facilitate valuable partnerships between staff and volunteers. She emphasizes that in any partnership, it is important for each person to come to the table with his or her own ideas and be comfortable discussing and agreeing on a common path.  

Over her three years working with the Volunteer Council, Council members have also learned about KC’s passion for music—all kinds of music. Her philosophy of partnership extends to her attitude toward music. KC thinks exploring the variety of expression in music is fun and constructive—like being open to an idea or listening to another point of view. 

In this vein, at one of our meetings KC shared several examples of urban poetry—lyrics to hip-hop songs. We played the CDs of popular performers such as Kanye West and Talib Kweli. After reading the poetry while listening, we were better able to appreciate the artists and their styles and understand the appeal to a younger generation of listeners. By recognizing that orchestral instruments, or classically inspired sounds and rhythms are often used in hip hop music, we began to think about what orchestral music would appeal to those who are more accustomed to listening to hip-hop music. It was easy to see how hip-hop could be incorporated into a more traditional orchestral performance to increase appreciation of both forms of music and create an intergenerational partnership of music lovers.   

Sandra Weingarten
Volunteer Notes Editor

Sending: Marketing Our Message

Chuck Cagle
Chuck Cagle

Marketing is defined as:
“An aggregate of functions involved in moving goods from producer to consumer,” “A business term referring to the promotion of products, especially advertising and branding,” or “an organizational function and a set of processes for creating, communicating and delivering value to customers and for managing customer relationships in ways that benefit the organization and its stakeholders.”  

All of these apply to the Marketing Committee of the Volunteer Council. 

The Marketing Committee is charged with sharing information about all the activities and services of the Council. When we meet in New York the Marketing Committee reviews the messages we send out, the feedback we receive, and tries to determine if there is anything else we can do to tell the orchestra volunteer community what we are doing for you.  

When the Council recently discussed the information gathered during our Touch-Base Calls, we learned that the majority of our contacts had heard of the League’s services for volunteers. However, several admitted that they had never visited Gold Book Online or read an issue of Volunteer Notes.  

Raising the visibility and stressing the usefulness of the resources now available to affiliated volunteer associations is the primary goal for the Marketing Committee this year. Additionally, we hope new officers of volunteer organizations will become familiar with the resources and products of the Volunteer Council prior to assuming office. 

These are indeed lofty goals—as well they should be. Improving the marketing and communications efforts of our products and services will most assuredly translate to success for volunteers across the country in areas such as membership, fundraising, leadership, and community education.    

Chuck Cagle
Marketing Committee Chair

Learning: Enrichment

Heather Moore

Heather Moore

While the Volunteer Council strives to provide our constituents with the knowledge and assistance to help them and their organizations succeed, we also strive to improve our capability to deliver that help.

No one is an expert in everything, but together the Volunteer Council is made up of many experienced volunteers—as a team we have expertise in most elements of orchestra volunteerism. More importantly, we know that there is always more that a person can learn, no matter how knowledgeable he or she is.

Our Council “Enrichment” sessions are an opportunity for us to enhance our knowledge and skills. Whether it is one Council Member sharing his or her expertise with another, or learning together from an outside voice, we look forward to these opportunities for growing our knowledge.

Recently, Enrichment has focused on skills for presenting at Regional Workshops, and computer skills and training. Last year, we learned about generational differences in work styles—and how one can design volunteer tasks for a particular generation.

What skills could you share with your volunteer association? What skills could your association learn together? Asking these questions helps identify areas for growth, and once you know what you would like to learn, the Volunteer Council is a great place to start looking.  

Heather Moore
Enrichment Chair

Bonding: Hospitality

Janet Barb

Janet Barb

The Dalai Lama stated, “Our greatest joy comes when we are motivated by concern for others.”  

The Volunteer Council’s concern for others is fostered and developed through our various hospitality activities. During our meetings in New York City, we attend concerts, operas, ballets, and other cultural events together. Naturally, this togetherness develops stronger friendships that lead to better working relationships. The outcome? Our common bond deepens our joy as we strive to serve all orchestra volunteers in the field. 

As the Volunteer Council’s current Hospitality Chair, I recommend that each association have a hospitality chair or committee to plan activities for your board members. Why not have fun while you promote cooperation, friendship, and good will among members? Social time leads to camaraderie and an improved working relationship for greater achievement. 

Janet Barb
Hospitality Chair

Teaching: Book Review

The Art of Possibility
Following her talk at a volunteer session at the League’s annual Conference in Denver last June, speaker Janet Davis, senior consultant with Dini Partners, gave me a copy of The Art of Possibility by Rosamund Stone Zander and Benjamin Zander. She had mentioned the book several times in her talk, and I was curious to find out more. Benjamin, music director and conductor of the Boston Philharmonic and conductor of the Youth Philharmonic Orchestra of the New England Conservatory, teamed up with his wife, Rosamund, a family therapist and writer, in this book, which combines the world of the symphony orchestra with cutting-edge psychology.   

“Waiter, I have a perfect life, but I don’t have a knife.” So opens this book, in which the Zanders write about practices that promise a way to expand the possibilities in your life, possibilities for creativity and transformation. The practices discussed in this book can be applied to the work we do as volunteer leaders—what practices can we employ to reach our goals for our volunteer associations?  

One example, the practice of “leading from any chair,” emphasizes that everyone’s contribution is important. Likewise, the practice of “making a contribution” teaches that the smallest effort is meaningful. This book urges us to be present to the way things are, accepting the present without resistance, freeing us to turn to the realm of possibility: where do we go from here? The authors’ advice: “In the face of difficulty, we can despair, get angry… or choose possibility.”  

As volunteers, this book prepares us to look for opportunities for cooperation and contribution. The many examples drawn from the world of music make the book even more meaningful to orchestra volunteers. 

If, as a volunteer leader, you’re looking for a way to generate more creativity, harmony, and enthusiastic contribution in your organization, give this book a try. 

Jane Van Dyk
President-elect

Conference 2009!

Save the date!!! June 9-13 is the League’s Conference in Chicago! The discount for early registration ends Feb 1. Click here for more details and look for more information in future issues of Volunteer Notes!

Hearing From You

This issue of Volunteer Notes has been dedicated to what the Volunteer Council does to provide the best possible information and assistance. We are always interested in receiving feedback from our readers, and would like you to respond to this brief survey.  Click here to be directed to this four-question survey. The survey should take 3-5 minutes to complete and your participation is much appreciated! Thank you. 

Sandra Weingarten
Volunteer Notes Editor

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