League of American Orchestras Volunteer Notes A Publication of the league of American orchestras volunteer council

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.


Bruce Colquhoun, Volunteer Notes Editor | bcolquhoun@comcast.net

Past President, Spokane Symphony Associates


Message from Our President

Gold Award of Excellence Award Winners

Message from Minneapolis-St. Paul Conference Chair

The Campaign for the League of American Orchestras

Membership Opportunities

The Volunteer Council

Message from Our President Terry White

With the start of a new year, many guilds and leagues are preparing major fundraising events which are usually a ball or other large gala. Many orchestras no longer have guilds/leagues and organize their own major fundraisers. Both models have one thing in common; volunteers are essential for any successful event.

As a volunteer you give your time and your resources to those organizations that you value. Or putting it another way, you donate or give away your personal and financial assets to make your communities better places to live. The arts, or more specifically music, are essential for a thriving community and volunteers help make music available to everyone.

The Volunteer Council is made up of volunteers like you, from around the country. We are here to support you in any way we can from helping you design an education project to tweaking an established fundraiser. At this year’s Conference in Minneapolis- St. Paul, the Gold Award of Excellence and Spotlight Presentations will range from community engagement to fundraising to celebrating volunteers, and there will be something for everyone. Most importantly, we will celebrate you and your successes last year and what you did to make your orchestras great.

Minneapolis, MN

Please join us in Minneapolis, Tuesday, June 9 for our Dine-Arounds followed by the Conference, June 10 through 12. You will receive a notification when the registration link is up on the Conference website. I look forward to celebrating you and other volunteers at Conference.

Gold Award of Excellence Winners

Innovation, best practice, return on investment, volunteer involvement, and impact describe projects from across the nation that will be featured during the League of American Orchestras National Conference in Minneapolis-St. Paul this June. Six Gold Award of Excellence Winners, chosen from submissions received from volunteer organizations across the country, will be recognized and featured during Volunteer Track sessions.

Enjoy a thumbnail sketch of each project to get a glimpse of what you will learn from the presentations of these award-winning projects. The following are listed in alphabetical order by symphony name. Congratulations to each Gold Award of Excellence winner; we look forward to hearing details about your projects at the Conference!

Lunch and Listening

Amarillo Symphony Guild, Amarillo Symphony

What better way to learn about an upcoming concert than to have a box lunch on stage with some of the musicians, the conductor, and the guest artist. Lunch and Listening heightens guild members’ concert experience. Guests of guild members have so enjoyed the event that they have often purchased concert tickets.

A Southern Savour Supper Club

Dallas Symphony Orchestra League, Dallas Symphony Orchestra

A magnificent estate was the setting for A Southern Savour Supper Club, a fundraiser that was created to be an affair of the heart as well as a fundraising venture. Volunteers turned their previous, more generic event, “Savor the Symphony,“ into an unforgettable garden-party themed evening that drew praise as well as dollars.

MSOL e- News: Reaching Members in a Digital Age

Madison Symphony Orchestra League, Madison Symphony Orchestra

Who needs a paper newsletter when you can go digital? Not Madison Symphony Orchestra League! They created a monthly e-News to showcase initiatives, provide links to upcoming events, and more. Their digital communications keep members informed and engaged.

Orchestrating Excellence Fundraising Luncheon

Oklahoma City Orchestra League, Oklahoma City Philharmonic

Sharing the education and community outreach story of the orchestra inspired 180 donors to give $180,000 in a free one-hour luncheon. The inventive approach and strategy behind the model brought in 85% new givers in the first year!

Utah Symphony Youth Guild

Utah Symphony Guild, Utah Symphony Orchestra

For 63 years, students have had meaningful opportunities for greater involvement in the arts through service and education activities offered by the Utah Symphony Youth Guild to its members: youths 8-18, both musicians and non-musicians alike. A survey of members ensures the program remains vibrant, relevant, and accessible.

Classic Award

In addition to the naming six winners of the Gold Award of Excellence, the Volunteer Council awarded one Classic Award. The Classic Award acknowledges a body of achievement and reflects a project undertaken over many years or decades which has demonstrated sustained excellence and value to the organization as well as made a long-term impact on the organization’s success.

Kansas City Symphony Designers’ Showhouse

Kansas City Symphony Alliance, Kansas City Symphony

The Kansas City Symphony Alliance (KSCA) has been successfully presenting a Designer’s Showhouse for 50 years. Each year, the KCSA invites designers to transform a home into a showhouse. All proceeds benefit the Kansas City Symphony. The project introduces nontraditional audiences to the symphony and is a key component of the orchestra’s budget.

Start Planning Future Gold Award of Excellence Winners Now!

When you’re knee-deep in planning for your current projects or events, take a few moments to evaluate whether your program or project would be applicable to other volunteer organizations and worthy of recognition. It is not too early to identify that new initiative, activity, successful program, or special event to submit for award consideration.

Deadline for submissions will be in August 2020

Get a head start by reviewing your award-worthy 2019-20 projects now! Eligible project categories include education, audience development/community engagement, communications and technology, fundraising, service, leadership, and membership. Future winners will be recognized at the 2021 League Conference.

Things to Know About Conference, June 9-12, 2020

Tresa Radermacher, Conference Chair

Conference Location

Hyatt Regency Minneapolis, Minneapolis, MN; 1300 Nicollett Mall Minneapolis, MN 55403. The hotel is near the Minneapolis Convention Center and Target Field.The Hyatt Regency Minneapolis will serve as headquarters and main meeting spaces; there will also be events held at Orchestra Hall, home of the Minnesota Orchestra, and Ordway Hall, home of the St. Paul Chamber Orchestra.

The League’s group rate is $199/night + tax (single/double) for the period of June 8-13, 2020. Call Reservations at 612-370-1234 and ask for the group reservation agent handling the League of American Orchestras “room block”. Reservations are accepted starting now.

Conference Registration

Registration at http://www.americanorchestras.org/ will begin the week of March 2, 2020 .

Volunteer Track Timeline

The following is our current plan for volunteers attending the Conference. Changes may occur as the League finalizes their programming.

Tuesday, June 9 (arrival day)

6:15 pm: Dine-Around Dinners at local restaurants (pay on your own)

Wednesday, June 10

8:30 am: Volunteer Track begins

11:45 am: Networking Lunch*

2:00 pm: Opening Plenary for all Conference attendees

3:45 pm: Volunteer Track continues

8:00 pm: Minnesota Orchestra Concert Performance*

Thursday, June 11

8:45 am: Volunteer networking and elective sessions

12:30 pm: Annual Meeting and Luncheon*

2:15 pm : Volunteer Track continues

4:00 pm: Travel to St. Paul

5:00 pm: Reception with heavy hors d'oeuvres

6:00 pm: St. Paul Chamber Orchestra Concert Performance*

Friday, June 12 (departure day)

8:45 am: Volunteer networking and elective sessions

11:00 am: Volunteer Track continues

3:00 pm: Conference ends

*Requires purchasing a ticket during Conference registration

Playing our Part: The Campaign for the League of American Orchestras

League of American Orchestras Office in New York, NY

At January’s Midwinter Managers Meeting, the League launched the public phase of Playing our Part: The Campaign for the League of American Orchestras. Playing our Part is a $2 million infrastructure campaign to transform the League for the future, enabling it to better serve orchestras across the country by:

establishing a national headquarters for the League, designed with collaboration and increased service to members in mind;

· launching a digital learning program to remove barriers to professional development and disseminate learning in innovative formats relevant to today’s learners;

·implementing an integrated technology ecosystem, to better understand the needs of League members across the country; and

· creating access to knowledge through a new and dynamic League website, guaranteeing an improved user experience.

In March, the Volunteer Council will meet at the new headquarters. We look forward to seeing the space and working with the staff in their new home. One piece of work we are particularly excited to learn more about is the digital learning program. We know how valuable League learning programs are. We also know that cost, travel, and time away from work and family are often barriers to accessing these opportunities. By increasing digital learning options, the League will simplify access and remove participation barriers.

The digital learning program launched in December with the first of five webinars, created specifically for those working for and with orchestras. However, this is just the beginning; the future of the League’s digital learning program will be a suite of online resources complete with webinars, online courses, downloadable resources, video and text archives, and curated libraries of materials around key issues in the field. It will be a space where orchestra professionals, trustees, and volunteers can sharpen their skills and have access to the digital resources they need when they need them. These are exciting times at the League and for those of us who benefit from membership. I hope you will keep this in mind, as you consider how you want to support the League this year.

For more information on Playing our Part, contact Samara Ungar, Manager of the Annual Fund, at: sungar@americanorchestras.org or 646 822 4008.

Membership Opportunities

The Volunteer Council is made up of recognized volunteer leaders who have demonstrated outstanding support for their orchestras and who are committed to the goals of the League of American Orchestras. As a Volunteer Council member, one uses her or his leadership to provide representation, support, and professional development to fellow volunteers throughout the country.

If you are interested in learning more about joining the Volunteer Council, please contact Sharon Hatchett at sharon.d.hatchett@gmail.com.

The Volunteer Council

Your Volunteer Council works to bring together the best ideas, projects, and practices from volunteers around the country to share with you at Conference and through various resources.


Terry Ann White, Amarillo Symphony, TX | President

Cindy Kidwell, East Texas Symphony Orchestra, TX | President-Elect

Tiffany Ammerman, Marshall Symphony, TX | Immediate Past President

Tresa Radermacher, Northwest Indiana Symphony Orchestra, IN | Conference Chair

Beth Wise, Huntsville Symphony Orchestra, AL | Conference Chair-Elect


Janet Cabot, Madison Symphony Orchestra, WI

Bruce Colquhoun, Spokane Symphony, WA

Sharon Hatchett, Chicago Sinfonietta, IL

Charlotte Lewis, Louisiana Philharmonic Orchestra, LA

Kathy Leibrand, Kansas City Symphony, MO

Ginny Lundquist, Detroit Symphony Orchestra, MI

Julie Meredith, Utah Symphony, UT

Laurie Skjerseth, Quad City Symphony, IA

Irene Sohm, Santa Rosa Symphony, CA

Ex-Officio Members

Marena Gault, AMSOV President, Dallas Symphony, TX

Wanda Kanwischer, 2020 Conference Liaison, Minnesota Orchestra, MN

Debbie McKinney, Sustainer Liaison, Oklahoma City Orchestra, OK

Marylou Turner, Sustainer Mentor, Kansas City Symphony, MO

Follow us on Facebook at Friends of the League of American Orchestra Volunteer Council.


Created with images by Manuel Nägeli - "Orchestra rehearsal" • Larisa Birta - "String quartet in Oradea" • Nicole Geri - "untitled image" • Manuel Nägeli - "Double bass" • MIO ITO - "untitled image" • Isaac Ibbott - "One hard piece" • Ethan Hoover - "untitled image"