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The League of American Orchestras Volunteer Council leads, advocates, and champions volunteer organizations in their efforts to support their orchestras' community outreach and civic partnerships to advance the experience of orchestral music.
Summer 2021 Edition
Irene Sohm, Volunteer Notes Editor | email@example.com
In This Issue
Conference 2021 Wrap-up
Save the Date, 2022 Conference
Gold Awards Call for Entrants
Meet the Class of 2021
Registration is Now Open: Strategic Conversations for Volunteer Presidents and Presidents-Elect
The Volunteer Council
A MESSAGE FROM OUR PRESIDENT
By Cindy Kidwell, President 2020-21
What a year! Who knew what we would be facing last summer in the midst of COVID shutdowns, quarantines, and a world where travel ceased? Working on a national level, the League of American Orchestras Volunteer Council had no choice but to shift gears.
Like many of you, we learned to manage our business virtually—Zoom became our friend! Monthly leadership meetings, fall and winter general meetings, committee meetings, cocktail hour celebrations, and National Conference all continued with each of us in front of our computers.
With encouragement from our Project Selection Chair, Ginny Lundquist, Detroit Symphony Orchestra, we continued our awards program, adding a new category that invited entries featuring ways that organizations had altered traditional programs during the pandemic. And you responded—we received an overwhelming response of 24 entries in that category!
The Volunteer Council moved the Fall Strategic Conversations for Presidents and Presidents-Elect from its usual conference call format to Zoom, allowing us to get acquainted on a new level with visual contact, lively conversations, and meaningful discussions.
And, instead of reaching our usual audience during the League’s Conference, the Volunteer Council, under the leadership of Conference Chair Beth Wise, hosted three webinars open to all. Many thanks to Beth and her hard-working committee for exceptional programming that, in our wildest dreams, we could never have anticipated presenting when we accepted our Volunteer Council assignments.
So, in new formats, we can celebrate success this year. We have provided educational opportunities for symphony volunteers, fostered networking and communications opportunities, and provided support for volunteer leadership through Strategic Conversations. And, we added a special edition of Volunteer Notes to showcase award-winning project entries under the watchful eye of Irene Sohm, Editor, representing the Santa Rosa Symphony.
We say goodbye to four Volunteer Council members who have completed their tenure and have made immensely positive contributions to the work of our Council: Terry White, Past President and Advisor, representing the Amarillo Symphony; Camille Williams, Sustainer Liaison, representing the Arkansas Symphony; Beth Wise, Conference Chair, representing the Huntsville Symphony; and Sharon Hatchett, Membership and Nominating Chair, representing the Chicago Sinfonietta. They join our ranks of Sustainers now, remaining a vital part of volunteer support for the League of American Orchestras.
At the same time, we welcome five new members to the Volunteer Council who begin their six-year term this summer. I hope you will take the time to read the article in this issue featuring these new members who represent symphonies in Los Angeles, Baltimore, Chicago, Washington, DC, and Cincinnati.
As this year comes to a close, I want to thank each and every member of the Volunteer Council for their dedication, their generous gift of time, their focused efforts on our projects and programs, and their tireless support. I met new acquaintances six years ago, and I now call each a friend. I’ve loved having the opportunity of serving as President of the Volunteer Council. It truly has been a privilege and an honor to lead this wonderful organization—and it is an incredible joy to know that the League’s Volunteer Council makes such a difference for symphony volunteers all across the country.
In the next issue of Volunteer Notes, you will meet the incoming President, Julie Meredith from the Utah Symphony. She is a talented and outstanding leader who has a rich background of professional and volunteer experiences. I look forward to supporting her during the coming year and seeing each of you as we gather in person for the League’s 2022 Conference in Los Angeles.
CONFERENCE 2021 WRAP-UP
By Beth Wise, VC Conference Chair 2020-21
So many individuals contributed to the success of this year’s online Conference—a total restructure of the Volunteer Council’s normal Conference activities. The Conference Committee deserves congratulations and recognition for their outstanding efforts.
Awards Chair Bruce Colquhoun ensured that all winning entries were appropriately recognized with either crystal plaques (Gold Awards and Classic Award) or Spotlight Certificates.
With considerable effort and ingenuity, three webinars were developed and presented to appreciative audiences:
• Traditions Reimagined: Resiliency Unveiled, chaired by Laurie Skjerseth and Camille Williams, highlighted 16 outstanding projects and their responses to pandemic restrictions.
• Re-energizing Membership, chaired by Sally Bullard and Ginny Lundquist, presented a comprehensive program regarding membership issues. Doris Parent, of the Philadelphia Orchestra, spoke on equity, diversity, and inclusion.
• How to be an Effective Leader, chaired by Marena Gault, included James Leffler, Vice President of Development for the Dallas Symphony Orchestra, and Kim Noltemy, Ross Perot President and CEO of the Dallas Symphony Orchestra, addressing leadership development and challenges.
These webinars were recorded and are available on the League’s website. We are very grateful to all who contributed to the success of these programs and look forward to a return to “normal” at the 2022 Conference in Los Angeles.
PEARLS OF WISDOM FROM CONFERENCE 2021
By Irene Sohm and the members of the Volunteer Council
As you probably all know, when you attend a conference, you usually come away with a few sentences that encapsulate the knowledge that you have gained. These are the things you can take back to your boards and organizations and use to make changes and spark conversations. Below are some of these “pearls” reported by our Volunteer Council members. We hope you can use them to start conversations in your own groups.
Give people a true sense of ownership in their organization
Start with gratitude
Leadership can be uncomfortable on occasion
Engender trust among people you are leading
Involve all stakeholders in the conversation
It will take two years to reach your previous level of attendance
Social media is the key to expanding your audience
Keep some online offerings
Volunteers are not employees; they are a treasure to an organization
SAVE THE DATE! LEAGUE OF AMERICAN ORCHESTRAS NATIONAL CONFERENCE JUNE 1-3, 2022
By Ginny Lundquist, VC Conference Chair 2021-22
Reconnect with friends and colleagues at the League of American Orchestras 77th National Conference next year in Los Angeles. Current plans are for volunteer-related activities beginning the evening of May 31 and ending June 3, including at least one concert by our wonderful host orchestra the Los Angeles Philharmonic. The Conference hotel is the Westin Bonaventure. You won’t want to miss this “all in-person” Conference, our first since Nashville in 2019. It promises to be a memorable event!
CALL FOR GOLD AWARD SUBMISSIONS
By Kathy Leibrand, Awards Chair
The League’s Volunteer Council is eagerly looking forward to all the outstanding Gold Award of Excellence submissions from volunteer organizations across the country. This has been an unusual year for orchestras and volunteer groups adjusting to all the restrictions imposed throughout the pandemic. But the volunteer auxiliaries have continued to shine through with the implementation of outstanding ideas for events in support of their symphony orchestras. The Gold Award of Excellence recognizes the best-in-class volunteer initiatives and events that have made a vital impact on orchestras. These events encompass a wide range of categories, including Fundraising, Communication/Technology, Community Engagement/Audience Development, Education, Leadership/Organizational Structure, Membership, Service, and Flexibility/Adaptability. Think of the inspiration you will provide to other volunteers and your symphony by being recognized for this Award.
Judges may decide an entry deserves a Spotlight Award for recognition of a specific tactic or best practice which helped contribute to the success of your overall program. For example, the extent to which your program reached a diverse audience, or the ability of your program to acquire new members. Judges may also grant a Classic Award, comparable to a Lifetime Achievement Award, acknowledging a timeless program that has sustained excellence and effectiveness over decades. This award will recognize a longstanding program that has been successfully implemented and valued for years.
Now is the time to review your volunteer group initiatives over the past year for submission. Entries are due Tuesday, August 31, 2021. Winners will share their programs with other volunteers at the 2022 National Conference in Los Angeles, California, June 1-3. The project submission form can be accessed here on the League website.
There is no fee to enter and no limit to the number of entries an organization may submit. To be eligible, programs must have been completed by June 30, 2021 (unless they are multi-year ongoing projects).