Volunteer Notes Summer 2010

The Newsletter for Symphony Orchestra Volunteers


The Newsletter for
Symphony Orchestra Volunteers

Summer 2010

Greeting: Message from Our President

Welcoming: Join Us in Atlanta

Introducing: Helen Shaffer, Conference Chair

Attending: Why You Should Come to Conference

Featuring: Project Profiles

Spotlighting: Project of the Month

Seeking: Membership Recruitment

Educating: Our First Webinar 

Advocating: Ask Congress to Reinstate the IRA Rollover 

Joining: Special League Membership for Volunteers 

Hearing From You 

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VOLUNTEER NOTES is published four times a year 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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Greeting: Message from Our President

Volunteer Council President Jane Van Dyk

Volunteer Council President Jane Van Dyk

I hope you are planning to come to the National Conference June 15–19 in Atlanta. If you haven’t decided yet, let me whet your appetite with some highlights about what there is to hear, see, and do.

Three Diverse and Exciting Musical Experiences. The Greenville County Young Artist Orchestra will perform Concerto No. 1 for Marimba and Orchestra by Ney Rosauro, and the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra and Chorus will perform Verdi’s Messa da requiem. The Atlanta School of Composers Concert will feature music by four living composers, including Jennifer Higdon, who recently received the Pulitzer Prize for Music and will be our keynote speaker at the Pizza Networking Volunteer Luncheon.

League President and CEO Jesse Rosen will speak directly to volunteers on Emerging Issues for Orchestras.

Roundtables Galore. The popular Roundtables will be back with 10 new award-winning projects from associations across the country. In addition, Peer-to-Peer Roundtables for all delegates, introduced last year in Chicago, will offer a similar session with successful new ideas for the orchestra field.

Opening Session: Orchestra R/Evolution. How must orchestras change to add greater value to American life? Fiery and charismatic keynote speaker Ben Cameron will challenge delegates to debate the future of the field in an interactive Town Hall format. Volunteers need to be a part of this conversation!

Specifically for Volunteers: Click here to see the My Conference-Volunteers page, where you will find a listing of the Gold Book Online Awards of Excellence, the Roundtables, information about the panel discussion Effective Leaders/Effective Volunteer Associations, a Jam Session for volunteers where you can bring your issues, and much more.

Come to Atlanta for Conference 2010. Pack your most comfortable shoes and get ready for the time of your life, picking up new ideas, meeting many new friends, and hearing great music. Hope to see you there!

To register or for more information about the conference hotel, click here.

Jane Van Dyk
Volunteer Council President

Welcoming: Join Us in Atlanta

So many exciting opportunities await you when you visit Atlanta in June for the League of American Orchestras Conference! Plan on coming early and staying late. This is one city where you could spend a month and never see all there is. Here are a few highlights:

  • Atlanta Symphony Association – This vibrant group of volunteers works tirelessly throughout the year raising funds to support the ASO. Their southern hospitality is sure to make us feel at home.
  • Tour the Capitol Museum, CNN Center, and Coca-Cola Headquarters.
  • Visit Underground Atlanta – the hot spot for nightlife.
  • History lovers can sample history at the home of Margaret Mitchell, author of Gone with the Wind, and the Jimmy Carter Library.
  • Art lovers will enjoy the High Museum of Art featuring Louvre Atlanta and The Allure of the Automobile.
  • Nature lovers can take a stroll through Piedmont Park or visit Stone Mountain to see one of the most beautiful monoliths on the country. Visit the Georgia aquarium – the largest in the world, and the outstanding Atlanta Botanical Gardens.
All this and more awaits you in Atlanta, so come on down!

Helen Shaffer
Conference Chair

Introducing: Helen Shaffer, Conference Chair

Helen Shaffer, conference chair; photo by Asher Kelman
Helen Shaffer, conference chair; photo by Asher Kelman
Helen grew up around music, earning a Bachelor of Fine Arts from the College Conservatory of Music at the University of Cincinnati. She has sung with the Cincinnati Symphony, the Pittsburgh Symphony and the Robert Shaw Chorale. After moving to Houston twenty-eight years ago, she immersed herself in volunteer work with the Houston Symphony League, chairing many major fund-raisers and becoming President in 1998.

Since then, Helen has contributed her great energy to the Houston Symphony Society and the Texas Association for Symphony Orchestras, chairing their conference and eventually becoming President. Currently she is President-elect of the Association of American Major Symphony Orchestra Volunteers, and Conference Chair for the Volunteer Council’s portion of the 2010 Conference in Atlanta.

Helen’s passion for good work is not limited to the arts—she is actively involved in many other charitable, religious, and educational organizations. Her dynamism and philanthropy in the Houston community are shared by her husband, Jim. They have been the patrons of many organizations and were recently recognized as “Sweethearts of the Arts.”

In her free time, Helen enjoys needlework or, with Jim, sharing time with daughters, Angela and Katheryn, and their families. Her five grandchildren enthusiastically support their “Mame” and her generous endeavors. With so much energy, ability, and zeal, it is no wonder that Helen has done a great job as this year’s Conference Chairman. Please take the time to meet and congratulate her when you are in Atlanta.

Sandra Weingarten
Volunteer Notes Editor

Attending: Why You Should Come to Conference

Bev Jennings, marketing chair; photo by Asher Kelman
Bev Jennings, marketing chair; photo by Asher Kelman
Your Volunteer Council of the League of American Orchestras has worked diligently to provide a volunteer track at the 2010 Conference in Atlanta that will energize, motivate, and inspire you.

Our goal has been to develop a stronger, more purposeful conference experience while supporting the development of our constituent volunteer organizations. We will focus on volunteer ideals and volunteer leadership that further promote and advance our field, and assist our orchestras. The sessions, panel discussions and roundtables will make us think. The networking and dine-around opportunities will make us think together.

Collectively, we can generate minds opened and challenged as well as hearts inspired and encouraged. Conference 2010 will provide the venue for sharing information with a likeminded network of colleagues.

We ask you to join us at Conference, not only to learn, but to share as well. This is a singular opportunity for you to share what has worked in your community and for your association. Each of you has a unique knowledge of our volunteer field, and your engagement can generate new ideas. We welcome your participation. This is how we grow!

Make your plans now to attend the League of American Orchestras National Conference. I can’t wait to meet you!

Bev Jennings
Marketing Chair

Featuring: Project Profiles

We aim to serve our orchestras! Fund raising and Education projects are popular submissions each year, but there are other forgotten categories that may not seem as glamorous or get as much attention. When planning submissions for next year’s Gold Book Online consider your organization’s service projects.

A 2008 submission from the Omaha Symphony Guild described its 50th Anniversary celebration which featured a year-long series of events to promote and recognize the Guild. Starting with a membership drive, they included a children’s event, a commemorative annual meeting with birthday cake and recognition of past presidents, and a summer display. While not every guild is turning 50, there are always special anniversaries to celebrate, or special events that build your association membership. Each element adds to community awareness of both your organization and your symphony.

The Friends of the Symphony Association at Symphony Orchestra Augusta provided a brief but encompassing description of their Volunteer Services. Each component of these services could be developed into a full project submission, giving the nuts and bolts of service to the symphony. Best of all are the outcomes of these services: “Sensational service, phenomenal fun, fabulous fellowship, fantastic fund-raising.”

Sing the praises of your own association by submitting the projects and every-day activities that serve your orchestra and make your group a vibrant part of the symphony experience. The submission form for projects between July 1, 2008, and June 30, 2009, is at goldbookonline.org. As a bonus, we’ll have Council members available during Conference to help with any questions about your submissions.

Judy Christl
Awards Committee

Spotlighting: Project of the Month

Let’s face it: you attend Conference to gather new ideas and make new friends. Clearly, there is no better place to obtain fresh insights and new approaches than by checking out the Award of Excellence projects. With a bit of imagination you can piggyback off of others’ successes and tweak them into your own triumphs.

For instance, the Fort Wayne Philharmonic Friends Instrument Loan Program won an Award of Excellence at the 2009 Conference in Chicago. This ambitious volunteer undertaking has achieved phenomenal growth since being established in 1990. The goal was to insure that any child who wants to learn an instrument will have one available to use for lessons, either privately or within a school music curriculum. At a time when funds are limited, and music education diminishing in many schools, the Fort Wayne Philharmonic Friends have formulated an excellent way to promote the cause.

Janet Barb
Awards Committee

Seeking: Membership Recruitment

Sue Ashby, Member Recruitment co-chairman; photo by Asher Kelman
Sue Ashby, Member Recruitment co-chairman; photo by Asher Kelman
“The Volunteer Council in partnership with the League of American Orchestras strives to lead, advocate, encourage, support and serve our member orchestras and their volunteers.” -VC mission statement

The Council is made up of dedicated women and men from across the country who have demonstrated leadership in their own organizations. One of the most exciting parts of our job is to plan volunteer events at the National Conference. If you are interested in learning more about us, and how to join the Council, we want to talk to you. Come meet us in Atlanta!

Sue Ashby
Member Recruitment Co-Chairman
Educating: Our First Webinar
Laura Hyde, Webinar chairman; photo by Asher Kelman
Laura Hyde, Webinar chairman; photo by Asher Kelman

What is a webinar? A webinar is a web-based, online seminar which can be viewed from your own computer at a time and place convenient for you. As a new way to bring information and advice to volunteers wherever they may be, the Volunteer Council recently launched its first webinar on Fundraising. For only $25 you or your group can watch a 30-minute seminar on the fundamentals of fundraising. There are questions at the end to aid your discussion and reading materials to enhance ideas.

This webinar is based on material previously presented in Regional Workshops, and provides up-to-the-minute advice on planning and organizing a fund-raising campaign or special event. It concludes with many examples of successful fund-raising projects plus contact information so you can get answers to any questions you might have. As you begin to plan your own fund-raising events for the coming year, this would be an excellent time to sit down with committee chairs, visit the webinar, and get some good ideas for new projects or advice on how to make a successful project even better. Plan a “Webinar Party” so that your Board and committee chairs can jointly learn and discuss.

Click here for more information.

Laura Hyde
Webinar Chairman

Advocating: Ask Congress to Reinstate the IRA Rollover
Before it expired on December 31, 2009, the IRA Rollover allowed a donor who had reached age 70 ½ to transfer IRA funds directly to a charity without incurring income tax on the transfer. Because ticket sales alone do not come close to supporting nonprofit arts organizations, the IRA Rollover benefited many orchestras in the two years that it was available. If it were not for the tax-exempt status and the deductibility of private donations, orchestras and many other non-profits would be unable to meet community needs.

One orchestra advocate says, “We depend on charitable gifts for approximately two-thirds of our annual revenue …The IRA Rollover has been instrumental in contributing to this needed support every year since it began, and this year resulted in the largest single gift ever to our orchestra.”

Rally your friends, family, and fellow arts-supporters to tell their members of Congress about the impact the IRA Rollover has had on your orchestra’s ability to serve its community today! Click here to send a customizable letter directly to Congress advocating for IRA Rollover.

Najean Lee
Government Affairs & Education Advocacy Manager
Joining: Special League Membership for Volunteers
The League knows how vital volunteers are to the orchestra field. To support your valuable work, the League is now offering an exclusive individual membership just for Volunteers.

You already have the support and expertise of the Volunteer Council, plus access to Volunteer Notes, SymphonyOnline, volunteer-oriented webinars, online discussion groups, and Gold Book Online—a free resource about successful projects, for volunteers, by volunteers.

But now there’s more…
The League’s Membership for Volunteers enhances the opportunities and learning available to you while supporting American orchestras. Best of all, it gives financial benefit back to your own orchestra or association.

Your $150 individual membership fee includes:
  • $100 credit for your orchestra or association to use for any of the League’s programs or services, such as the National Conference
  • Full Access to The Hub, the League’s members-only website for orchestra and arts news
To join today, please go to americanorchestras.org or call Member Services at 212 262 5161.
Hearing From You
I hope that this issue of Volunteer Notes will encourage you to make your plans for Conference if you haven’t already done so. This is our time not only to learn from each other, but to recognize the work that you—the volunteers—do for your orchestras. Many of you are recognized by receiving Awards of Excellence, but all of you deserve the applause and gratitude of the musical community for the time, energy and passion you devote to keeping music alive. Our heartfelt thanks to each of you!

At Conference and throughout the year, the Volunteer Council is here to support you and your volunteer organizations. Please come to us with your questions and concerns. We want to hear from you.

Sandra Weingarten
Volunteer Notes Editor
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