Volunteer Notes Summer 2011


The Newsletter for
Symphony Orchestra Volunteers

Summer 2011

Greeting: A Message from the President

Nearing the Deadline – Send in Gold Book Online Submissions by September 8th

Recapping Conference – Didn’t Attend? Here is What You Missed

Moving Forward – Volunteer Council Changes

Speaking Up for Orchestras - What Orchestra Supporters Can Do

Volunteer Council Seeks Your Feedback


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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Gold Book Online -- The Resource for Volunteer Projects


Greeting: A Message from the President

Heather Moore, Volunteer Council President

Heather Moore, Volunteer Council President

During the League’s 2011 National Conference in June, we heard extensive discussions regarding the ongoing challenges facing all of our orchestras and communities. Many volunteers attended in hopes of finding innovative ideas to continue the work of their volunteer organizations in support of their orchestras, as well as sustaining established, important education and outreach programs.

Although there were sobering reminders of what we continue to face, we also heard stories of outstanding success from more than twenty different award-winning organizations and many nationally-recognized speakers on topics important to all volunteers.

The recap below highlights some of the volunteer sessions presented at Conference. If you were not able to be there, or just wish to continue the discussions from Conference, remember there is a networking opportunity always available to you – just join the email discussion group at americanorchestras.org, Interest Area: Volunteers. This discussion group is especially valuable to new presidents and presidents-elect for ideas and support.

This is the time of year when many of us are turning over our leadership and planning for the coming year. I hope you will take advantage of all the League has to offer volunteers and plan now in your budgeting process to attend the National Conference in Dallas, TX, June 5-8, 2012. I can personally attest to the value of attending Conference. My first Conference was in 1988 as President-Elect of the Dallas Symphony League Junior Group. I found it so valuable to my leadership development and search for innovative ideas, I have continued over the years to attend Conference at my own expense.

I congratulate each of you on all your accomplishments this year. The thousands of hours you each give in support saves orchestras across America millions of dollars and enriches the lives of countless individuals both young and old. Volunteers are and have been the life blood and most important resource for the sustainability of symphonic music in each of our communities. I know each of you who are new leaders will plan and implement your vision for your organization with passion and purpose. I wish you great success.

Heather Moore
President, Volunteer Council

Nearing the Deadline – Send in Gold Book Online Submissions by September 8th

Due to a technical error in the Gold Book Online submission process, we have extended the deadline for submitting your volunteer project to Thursday, September 8, 2011. We apologize for any inconvenience this may have caused you. The error has now been corrected.

Gold Book Online is a unique and important resource for orchestra volunteers (goldbookonline.org). Originally an annual print volume of all orchestra volunteer projects submitted for awards, this website now offers an extensive searchable compilation of many years and categories of successful projects. This is a gold mine for those searching for information, but can only remain so if there continues to be a wide variety of new ideas shared every year. The deadline for submitting projects for this year is upon us – submissions are due September 8, 2011.

To have a project considered for Awards or Roundtable presentations at the League’s 2012 National Conference in Dallas, it must be submitted electronically via goldbookonline.org. The submission process is outlined in detail and is quite easy. Many groups do not wait for this deadline, but submit their projects upon completion, using the submission form also as their internal report form.

If you haven’t already done so, please share your 2010-11 projects by submitting them today– you will not only be helping other groups around the country, but your submission may earn your organization an award and a prestigious place in the program at next June’s Conference!

Recapping Conference – Didn’t Attend? Here is What You Missed

Becky Roloff, chief executive officer, YWCA of Minneapolis, was the Volunteer Networking Luncheon keynote speaker at this year's League Conference.

Becky Roloff, chief executive officer, YWCA of Minneapolis, was the Volunteer Networking Luncheon keynote speaker at this year's League Conference.

Volunteers at this year’s National Conference in the Twin Cities were treated to beautiful sights, amazing sounds (including two concerts, each by a world-class symphony orchestra!), and a tremendous amount of exciting information to take back with them. For those who were not able to be there, below is a recap of some of the volunteer-specific sessions.

Leading an Orchestra Volunteer Organization

This special session designed for incoming Presidents and President-Elects was led by the current Volunteer Council Leadership. Filled with information, suggestions and lots of hand-outs, this provided the perfect prep for those taking on the mantle of leading their organizations into the future.

Sharing Ideas and Information

In answer to input from the previous year’s Conference, priority was placed on offering a variety of opportunities for volunteer delegates to network at the 2011 National Conference.

Kicking things off, the Dine Arounds were expanded to two evenings in order to accommodate all schedules. These Dutch treat dinners were a great success, with 60-70 participants each evening. Attendees were separated into small groups by time and cuisine preference, and each group was hosted by a member of the Volunteer Council. This was a great way to accommodate those who came to Conference alone with a great dining-out option and a fun opportunity to network.

Another opportunity for networking was introduced at the annual Networking Pizza Luncheon. The topic was membership, and attendees were randomly assigned tables as they entered. Volunteer Council members facilitated conversations at each table.. Topping off this session were remarks by Becky Roloff, executive director of the YWCA in Minneapolis. She reminisced about her own connection to classical music and how her organization works with the Minnesota Orchestra. She concluded by challenging orchestra volunteers to play a major role in broadening the constituency for orchestras in their individual communities.

An additional chance to network was a bright and early breakfast session. Tables were again assigned and facilitated by the Volunteer Council members, however, the discussion was more free-form, with a variety of topics ranging from technology to financial issues and organizational structure. At the end, participants were encouraged to share specifics with the entire group responding.

Discussing Specific Issues for Orchestra Volunteers

Three special sessions at Conference dealt with important aspects of orchestra volunteer leadership.

Making an Ask – Volunteer Council member and Director of Development for the School of Electrical and Computer Engineering at Purdue University, Margarita Contreni, and Robin Roy, the League’s former vice president for development, conducted an informative, entertaining, and interactive discussion on a complicated topic for many orchestra volunteer associations. All manner of “asks” were addressed, from asking for an auction item to asking for a major event sponsorship. Specifics on how to make each kind of “ask” were presented in detail, and after each type was addressed, all attendees were paired to role play each situation.

Volunteer Leadership Can Be Child’s Play – Jo Ellen Saylor, a former teacher and 2011 Minneapolis Conference Liaison to the Volunteer Council, conducted a lively hands-on session based on the book Toy Box Leadership. Each table of participants was given a toy that was mentioned in the book with which to play. After an allotted time, each group was called on to relate how their toy exhibited leadership skills. Jo Ellen then gave a condensed version of how the book used that specific toy to illustrate leadership (or lack of leadership) traits.

Serving Your Orchestras and Engaging the Community –Volunteer Council Sustainer Liaison, Lois Margolin moderated this panel discussion. Panel participants included Sandra Weingarten, Eugene Symphony Guild; Marena Gault, Dallas Symphony Orchestra League, Melissa Woolf, Symphony Guild of Charlotte (NC), Beth Pusic, Omaha Symphony Guild, and Brenda Azinger, Illinois Symphony Orchestra Guild of Bloomington. Each panelist shared a specific way that their local organization had either provided assistance to their orchestra by stepping inside its administrative world and saving their orchestra a significant amount of money or by reaching out into the community and bringing a wider audience to their orchestra. All showed how orchestra volunteer organizations can be the innovators for their orchestra’s community involvement.

Presenting Award-Winning Projects

Seven Gold Book Awards of Excellence were presented at the 2011 National Conference. The winners included:

• Dancing with the Stars (West Virginia Symphony League)
Presenters: Patti Carnemola and Jo Ellen Zacks
• 41st Designers’ Showhouse (Kansas City Symphony Alliance)
Presenter: Tracey Hawkins
• Music Memory (Dallas Symphony Orchestra League)
Presenter: Marena Gault
• Outreach Collages: Creative Arts Camps (Friends of the Symphony Orchestra of Augusta (GA))
Presenter: Vonda Darr
• The Society of Strings (Oklahoma City Orchestra League)
Presenters: Katie Kucharski and Rhonda White
• 2009 Symphony Ball (Jackson Symphony League(MS))
Presenter: Kim Porter
• We are the Music (Santa Fe Symphony Orchestra and Chorus, Fanfare Group)
Presenter: Matt Frauwirth

Detailed information (including contacts) for each of these projects can be found at goldbookonline.org.

Further adding to the exchange of project ideas were two dynamic sessions of roundtable presentations. One session was composed entirely of fundraising projects, and another featured educational and service projects. Additionally, the Volunteer Council hosted two roundtables: a preview of the League’s new Membership Webinar, Recruiting Your Next Generation of Volunteers: Part 1, and an educational presentation on submitting projects to Gold Book Online. All eighteen of these stellar project presentations were repeated multiple times to allow delegates to attend several presentations in each category.

Moving Forward – Volunteer Council Changes

Chuck Cagle, incoming Volunteer Council President

Chuck Cagle, incoming Volunteer Council President

The League is happy to welcome five new members to the Volunteer Council for 2011-12:

Charlyse Cade of Sioux Falls, SD is the immediate past president of the South Dakota Symphony League. She is a retired music teacher and has given much of her energy to her league’s education programs, serving on the Education Committee for six years. In fact, she cites her excellent rapport with music teachers as contributing to her success as president of her symphony league. She is also a member of Delta Kappa Gamma Society International for Key Women Educators and is active in the Daughters of the Nile, whose projects support Shriners Hospitals.

John Murphy hails from Santa Fe, NM where in retirement he is active in the Fanfare Group of the Santa Fe Symphony Orchestra and Chorus. John worked in the Philadelphia area for many years as an executive with Aramark, and served on the boards of several community groups there. He is a percussionist by avocation and is an advocate for music education. He has made significant contributions to the Fanfare Group in the areas of grant writing and developing membership incentive programs. He is also a volunteer for the Santa Fe United Way.

Sherry Poulson is a past president of the Utah Symphony Guild in Salt Lake City. She brings a wealth of experience in working with her guild in many major jobs and is currently on the guild’s fundraising task force. She has also served in many significant capacities with the Salt Lake City Junior League, and was chairman of the 1984 National Figure Skating Championships in Salt Lake. She is on the development Board for the University of Utah Nursing School, and the Philanthropic Board for the Brigham Young University Nursing School as well.

Aaron Nurick is an organizational psychologist/consultant and has been a member of the Boston Symphony Association of Volunteers (BSAV) for over 30 years, and served as its Chairman (President). The BSAV has over 800 volunteers, 600 in Tanglewood and 200 in Boston. Aaron was also the leader of the reorganization for the association. Aaron is a former board president of the Boston Institute for Psychotherapy and is a board member of the Massachusetts Community Outreach Initiative.

Debbie McKinney calls Oklahoma City home, where she is a practicing attorney. As a member of the Oklahoma City Orchestra League, she has served as President and Showhouse Chair and currently sits on the long range planning committee. She is involved with the United Way Allocation Committee, the OCU Law School Gala Committee, and is Chair of the Executive Advisory Board of the Wanda L Bass School Of Music at Oklahoma City University. She is also a registered nurse.

Taking the reins of the Volunteer Council as President for 2011-12 will be Charles W. (Chuck) Cagle of Nashville, TN. When Chuck takes over as Council President October 1, he will become the first male to serve in that capacity. This will be nothing new for Chuck as he was also the first male to serve as President of the Nashville Symphony Orchestra League. He is a former member of the Board of Directors of the Nashville Symphony Orchestra, and is currently a Board member for the Nashville Symphony League and also for the Friends Society of Tennessee Technological University Department of Music. Chuck is an attorney and chairs the Education Law Practice Group for the Nashville and Knoxville offices of Lewis, King, Krieg & Waldrop, P.C.

Speaking Up for Orchestras - What Orchestra Supporters Can Do

Orchestras count on private philanthropic contributions for roughly 40% of their revenue. As the momentum for tax reform and deficit reduction increases, Congress and the White House are discussing proposals to curtail or otherwise modify the income tax deduction for gifts by individuals to 501(c)(3) organizations, including the nonprofit arts. The League is playing an active role in major coalition efforts across the nonprofit sector, urging lawmakers to fully understand how policy changes could impact charitable giving, seeking protection for giving incentives that support the valuable community services provided by the full range of nonprofit organizations, and specifically championing the public value orchestras provide in return for tax exempt status.

In the short term, there are efforts to extend the IRA Rollover provision, which is currently available only through the end of 2011. Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-NY) has introduced the Public Good IRA Rollover Act of 2011, which would make permanent and expand the IRA charitable rollover, lifting the $100,000 charitable gift limit and lowering the age of the donor to 59 ½. The legislation’s lead Republican co-sponsor is Sen. Olympia Snowe (R-ME). Read more about charitable giving incentives broadly, or the IRA Rollover specifically, and tell your members of Congress about the valuable ways your orchestra serves the local community!

Volunteer Council Seeks Your Feedback

The League’s Volunteer Council wants to know more about how your volunteer organization aids orchestras and continually seeks your feedback on the issues you think are most pressing to volunteers today. Send suggestions and comments to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. . Please also send story ideas and photos of volunteers in action to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. for possible inclusion in Volunteer Notes. Photos should be high resolution (300 dpi minimum) and JPG or GIF format. Please also include photo credits with each submission.


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