Volunteer Notes April 2009

The Newsletter for Symphony Orchestra Volunteers

The League’s National Conference is approaching - June 9 -12 hosted by the
Chicago Symphony Orchestra.

The Newsletter for
Symphony Orchestra Volunteers

April 2009


GREETING: Notes From Our President

INFORMING: Top 10 Reasons to Attend Conference!

ATTENDING: Why You Should Come to Conference

MEETING: Networking With Your Colleagues

RECOGNIZING: Awards of Excellence

NOTICING: Symphony Magazine Article

LEARNING: Regional Workshop

THANKING YOU: National Volunteer Week


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.
NEED A MENTOR? Volunteer Sustainers Can Help

LET’S TALK! Volunteer Discussion Groups

GOLD BOOK ONLINE -- The Resource for Volunteer Projects


GREETING: Notes From Our President

Volunteer Council President Judy Christl

Volunteer Council President Judy Christl

Dear Symphony Volunteers,

The Volunteer Council has been busy working to make Conference a vibrant, stimulating, idea-packed opportunity for Volunteers. This issue of Volunteer Notes will give you an in-depth view of what is in store for you in Chicago.

Over the years, the volunteer track has evolved as the Council focuses much time and energy in planning sessions that:

· Address issues you’ve identified as challenges

· Develop networking possibilities

· Provide leadership training

· Enable you to think for the future

· Offer support and suggestions for the current economic climate

We have exciting plans for the blocks of time designed specifically for you, our constituents, as well as several opportunities to learn with staff, board members, and other constituents at Conference.

That’s a key word: constituents. Many constituents comprise the orchestral world. Conference offers a marvelous opportunity for us to share ideas with all facets of the orchestral family and gain a view of the bigger picture. Plenary sessions provide insight to critical issues and trends, a view of the larger world where the orchestra and community come together. Toolbox and Perspectives Sessions are another means of broadening our point of view. Sometimes these sessions touch upon a volunteer concern directly, and sometimes they offer a picture of larger issues that affect the entire arts community. All together, these various formats present us with the knowledge to see how we as volunteers can support our orchestras, all orchestras, and the arts in general.

We urge you to look at Conference as an exciting opportunity to share and grow.

Judy Christl
Volunteer Council President

This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

INFORMING: Top 10 Reasons to Attend Conference!

Come see what Conference can teach you!
Come see what Conference can teach you!
10. Your mother said “It will be good for you”

9. Interesting information shared in a discussion of hot topics over Chicago’s fabulous pizza

8. All you wanted to know about using the Gold Book Online

7. Presentations of the nine Gold Book Online Award-winning projects

6. Michelle Hamilton—moderating Gold Book Online Awards presentations, sharing ideas, and new twists to aid in adaptation by all organizations

5. Utah’s captivating presentation and formula for consistently award-winning education projects

4. A panel of successful collaboration projects featuring partnerships with community, board, and staff

3. Experts teaching how to identify and cultivate the best leaders for your organization

2. Listen to nationally acclaimed author and speaker Jill Fixler discuss “New Models For Volunteer Organizations”

1. Build a successful network of the nation’s top orchestra volunteers


Helen Shaffer
Conference Program Chairman

ATTENDING: Why You Should Come to Conference

2009 Conference Chairman Grace Seitz

2009 Conference Chairman Grace Seitz

With all the offerings available through the League, why should you go to Conference? You should go because there are a number of opportunities available in Chicago this June that can’t be found any place else.

One of the biggest reasons to come to Conference is to network! The League’s Conference is the only place where you can network not only with volunteers, but with everyone in the orchestra family—from musicians to development directors. What better way is there to get new ideas? There will be networking opportunities open to all, such as fabulous concerts, the famous Conference “Tune-Up Party”, hosted by the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, and more. The Council is also planning networking events just for you, the orchestra volunteer. Read on to the next article to learn what Networking Chairman Terri McDowell has planned for Volunteer Networking.

Another reason to attend is today’s economic atmosphere. It is even more imperative that you come and find out what possibilities and new programs are being promoted among the orchestra community to meet the realities and challenges of today. Conference will feature several sessions on this topic, as well as a peer-to-peer roundtable session, where you can visit one-on-one with presenters and learn about their successful solutions.

You can learn how to increase the success of your organization in the OLA seminar - Developing the Top Volunteer Talent Needed to Survive and Thrive, offered Wednesday morning, June 10. Although there is an extra cost for this seminar, you will find it well worthwhile. Thanks to a generous gift, the League and Volunteer Council are thrilled to offer all orchestra volunteers with League member orchestras an $80 discount on the session Developing Top Volunteer Talent. We know that money is tight everywhere, so we’re making it as easy as possible to take advantage of this programing.

Last, but not least, Chicago is a great destination city. The opportunities for fun, great restaurants, shopping, sightseeing, and anything else you can think of are widely available in Chicago. The Volunteer Council is especially looking forward to meeting you there!

Grace Seitz,
Conference Chairman

MEETING: Networking With Your Colleagues

2009 Conference Networking Chairman Terri McDowell

2009 Conference Networking Chairman Terri McDowell

As you have read, you will have many opportunities to meet constituents from across the country at Conference. But what about the time we spend with other orchestra volunteers? The Council’s Networking Committee has been brainstorming and planning the best ways to network by sharing casual time together in Chicago.

Be sure to look for the Gold Book Online Gallery, where all the Award of Excellence winning Gold Book Online projects will be displayed. You’ll love these projects, and we hope you’ll want to submit one of your own for next year! While each project will be presented and discussed during our sessions, the Gold Book Online Gallery features displays of each of this year’s nine award-winning projects. Project presenters will be on hand between sessions to chat about their work, and answer any questions you might have. The Gold Book Online Gallery is also a great place to meet some of your fellow delegates for a little networking time.

And…you certainly can’t leave Chicago without having a Pizza! Sign up for our Chicago-Style Pizza Party Lunch at noon on Friday June 12th. This will be a great time to network, share ideas, and do some problem-solving, all in an atmosphere of fun and good food! Don’t miss it!

Pack your business cards and hand them out at every opportunity.

Get ready to razzle and dazzle this summer in Chicago!

Terri McDowell
Networking Chairman

RECOGNIZING: Awards of Excellence

Gold Book Online Awards of Excellence winners are busily planning for their presentations at Conference. Here is what you have to look forward to from the Awards Committee:

On Thursday afternoon, June 11, five of the winners will present their projects. The Guild of the Jacksonville Symphony, The Symphony Guild of Charlotte, Inc., Dayton Philharmonic Volunteer Association, Fort Wayne Philharmonic Friends, and Women’s Symphony League of Tyler will present projects from a wide array of categories. Learn how these projects involved new members, youth, technology, and collaboration to achieve success in membership, education, fund-raising and community engagement programs.

Partnership is a one of the Volunteer Council’s key areas of programming, so we are thrilled to feature three volunteer associations that are making successful partnerships work for their orchestras. On Friday afternoon, June 12, you will enjoy an exciting panel discussion on partnerships with the Southwest Florida Symphony Society, Nashville Symphony Orchestra League, and Illinois Symphony Orchestra Guild of Bloomington-Normal. This session with include both traditional project presentations and a discussion about the complexities and advantages of partnering with staff, the orchestra board, and outside organizations.

The Friends of the Music Guild of the Orchestra of Southern Utah will have a very special presentation of their innovative three-year education series, including the 2009 Gold Book Online Award-winning project “Africa.” Come hear about the formula this volunteer association uses to introduce children to various cultures through music. For those of you who loved their presentation of “Spanish Trail” at last year’s National Performing Arts Convention, you won’t want to miss this!

This is an exciting year to be the Chairman of the Gold Book Online Awards of Excellence! I can’t wait to hear what you think of these fantastic projects. Bravi award winners!

Laura Hyde
Gold Book Online Awards Chairman

NOTICING: Symphony Magazine Article

Have you read the article Class Acts in the current (March-April 2009) issue of Symphony magazine? This article captures the creativity and dedication of volunteer organizations as they work to support the educational programs of their orchestras. The seven featured projects represent hundreds of examples of dedicated volunteers who refuse to let music education fade away.

How can volunteers reach out through orchestral music?

What could be more appealing than meeting a professional football player who sings opera?

What does it take to run a successful “Music Van” project for decades?

How can volunteers equipped with PowerPoint encourage imagination and teach concert hall etiquette at the same time?

How can volunteers expose students to music and art during the lazy days of summer?

How can music be used to engage students in cultural studies?

What can volunteers offer to high school students who show amazing musical talent?

Please be sure find the answers to these questions in Symphony. This article illustrates just a few of the many ways in which orchestra volunteers supplement and aid the education programs of their orchestras. Since all of these featured projects have won a Gold Book Online Award, you can search for them online. Contact information is provided for all Gold Book Online projects so you can get in touch with the volunteers who made these projects work from start to finish. Many more examples of great projects can be found in the Gold Book Online.

Hats off to you, the volunteers who do this invaluable work!

Sandra Weingarten
Volunteer Notes Editor

LEARNING: Regional Workshop

Regional chairman Wendy Kelman
Regional chairman Wendy Kelman
The VC is West Virginia-Bound!
Don’t miss the next REGIONAL WORKSHOP

Friday, April 24, 2009, in
Charleston, West Virginia

Click Here To Register

Join the West Virginia Symphony League and the Volunteer Council of the League of American Orchestras for a day of training, presentations, and interactive discussion on orchestra volunteerism. This workshop is open to volunteers, staff, board members, and anyone else interested in networking and sharing ideas of best practices in small group collaborations. There will be two presentations in this one-day workshop. Pat Howard of Syracuse, NY, and Herb Rossmeisl of Birmingham, AL, will engage everyone in lively discussion of volunteer organization best practices. Participants will gather at the Founders Lounge of the Clay Center for the Arts and Sciences of West Virginia for coffee at 9:15 am, with presentations from 10 to 3. Take advantage of this opportunity to network with other volunteers facing similar challenges in the areas of membership and leadership. Registration deadline is April 17. Please contact KC Skolnik at: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. for more information.

Interested in hosting a Regional Workshop in your community?

The Volunteer Council offers one-day Regional Workshops on Membership, Leadership, Fundraising, and Marketing, planned around the needs of your organization and regional location. Working with host volunteer groups, these workshops address the specific challenges that face your volunteer organizations. Learning from our presenters and from each other is a valuable and rewarding experience.

Please contact KC Skolnik at: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. for more information or to receive an application.

Wendy Kelman
Regional Workshop Chairman
THANKING YOU: National Volunteer Week
April 19 – 25, 2009 is National Volunteer Week, a chance to recognize the work of all volunteers. This year’s theme is “Celebrating People in Action,” which describes symphony volunteers perfectly. The Volunteer Council would like to thank you, the volunteers who work so diligently behind the scenes to support your orchestras, the volunteers who produce the fundraising events, the volunteers who run the educational programs, the volunteers who answer telephones and stuff envelopes, the volunteers who usher at concerts, and those who do so much more.

If you are interested in additional information about National Volunteer Week, click here

THANK YOU to all of you who work so hard to keep the music alive!


We hope this issue of Volunteer Notes will encourage you to attend Conference in Chicago. We have tried to illustrate the many facets of the Conference experience and their value to you as a volunteer.

We also want your feedback on the information we provide you as well as questions and suggestions. To accomplish this, please click here to fill out a brief survey—your opinions are important!

Thank you.

Sandra Weingarten
Volunteer Notes Editor


To subscribe, unsubscribe, or change your email address, please send your name, title, orchestra or organization name, mailing address, and email address to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. and put “VOLUNTEER NOTES” in the subject line.

League of American Orchestras
33 West 60th Street, Fifth Floor
New York, NY 10023-7905