Volunteer Notes A Newsletter 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.



President's Message – Why Don't We Paint the Town

Creating the Greatest Impact – Conference 2018

Announcing the 2018 Roundtable Winners!

Conference 2018 Dine Arounds

Resource Spotlight

Texas Association for Symphony orchestras (TASO)

Invitation to Attend Conference

The Volunteer Council

Why Don't We Paint the Town in CHICAGO!

Becky Odland, volunteer council president / member of the Friends of the Minnesota Orchestra

If you've seen the show Chicago, you can't help but remember the song starting, "Come on babe, why don't we paint the town? And all that jazz." If you change babe to volunteer, paint to present, and jazz to musical genres, you will experience the Volunteer Track of the League of American Orchestras National Conference in Chicago, June 13-15 (however Dine-Arounds start June 12).

Over three days, the Volunteer Council has crafted an action-packed agenda full of ideas, best practices, and inspiration through presentations, networking, and concerts. Not to mention a variety of in-depth constituency sessions designed by the League. Please see other articles in this issue for more details, including a how-to-guide for registration. If you need an idea for membership, we have Musical Bingo. If you need an idea for fundraising, we have A Night in Paris. If you need an idea for music education, we have examples from elementary age to seniors. "We" means our talented volunteer presenters from across the United States. In addition, Volunteer Council Sustainer Jo Ellen Saylor will present Volunteer Leadership Can Be Child's Play during the Networking Luncheon on Wednesday, June 13.

Also in this issue:

  • The Conference Dine-Arounds on the evening of June 12 are carefully designed networking opportunities (we know delegates like to network!). My mouth waters reading the meal choices. Choose your options in the registration process.
  • Please note the variety and scope of the Roundtable descriptions. Presentations from these volunteer organizations at Conference will be inspiring.
  • The article on TASO highlights the regional symphony orchestra volunteer organization in Texas, including its history and the scope of its work. In addition to several current Volunteer Council members, there are a number of distinguished Volunteer Council Sustainers who have shared their talents in TASO over the years. The Volunteer Council has benefitted from their experience and leadership.
  • New in this issue is the Resource Spotlight. We hope to continue sharing resource ideas you may have or need to know.

The Volunteer Council recently had its annual winter meeting in New York City at the League headquarters. Jesse Rosen, CEO and President, gave an update on the League's work. It is truly amazing how much is accomplished with a staff of 30. The League offers a vast array of resources to orchestra members including initiatives on Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI) and a vibrant advocacy program.

I look forward to seeing you in Chicago!

Creating the Greatest Impact Conference 2018

League of American Orchestras National Conference / June 13-15, 2018

Camille Williams, volunteer council conference chair / member of Arkansas Symphony Orchestra Guild

America is brimming with extraordinary musicians and ensembles as unique as the communities they serve. Every year, almost 25 million people across the United States are touched by live orchestral performances. Against today’s backdrop of continuous change, orchestras are challenged to ask anew, why they matter, what is their role, and what is their greater purpose? How can the orchestral experience—the artistry, the art form, and the artists—create the greatest impact in today’s world? Join us in Chicago for the League of American Orchestras 73rd National Conference as we debate and discuss the answers to these critical questions.

The League is working hard to ensure everyone has an opportunity to attend the 73rd Annual Conference in Chicago (June 13-15). Groups of three or more volunteers and/or board members from member orchestras will receive a discounted registration rate of $495 per person. For example, one volunteer from Minnesota, one volunteer from California, and a board member from Maine can register together to receive the discount. If you wish to register as part of a group of three or more, please contact the League’s Member Services department at member@americanorchestras.org or 646 822 4010.

The League is also offering a first-time attendee rate of $495. The full early-bird registration fee is $650 for individuals who have attended Conference and do not group. Please make sure you do not miss the May 4 early-bird registration deadline, or the price will increase to $785 for all attendees. Remember that volunteers whose orchestra is a member of the League are considered members. Please contact Member Services if you need to find out if your orchestra is a League member.

A summary of Conference information for volunteers can be found on the registration website in the Volunteer Track Conference Overview.



Also, be sure not to miss this exciting video from our Conference host, the Chicago Symphony Orchestra.

Announcing the 2018 Roundtable Award Winners!

Elizabeth Wise, chair of roundtables / member of Huntsville Symphony Orchestra Guild

Exciting ideas are in store for you at Conference! This year twelve volunteer projects have been selected from around the country for Roundtable presentations during Conference in Chicago. Innovation, volunteer involvement, return on investment, and impact are the primary criteria the Volunteer Council use to evaluate submitted volunteer projects each year.

Roundtables provide a quick and efficient opportunity to learn about successful fundraising, community engagement, education, communication/technology, and membership projects from symphony volunteers across the country. During these expo-style Roundtable sessions, Conference attendees can enjoy presentations in a more casual and intimate setting with time for one-on-one questions. These discussions often result in a new idea for volunteers’ organizations or a new twist to an existing project. In addition to these fine Roundtable Award Winners, Volunteer Council members will share important resource information for volunteers. Come join in the fun and see what you can learn in Chicago!

Take a moment to enjoy a thumbnail sketch of each and see what awaits you in Chicago!

Southside Friends of the Chicago Sinfonietta, IL

A Magical Holiday Breakfast: Held at The Crystal Gardens of Navy Pier, this annual event hosts over 500 guests. A changing theme surprises and entices return attendance. Including a highly active silent auction and presentation of diverse musical talent, this popular affair serves as an introduction to classical music and raises critical funds for the orchestra’s education programs.

League of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra Association, IL

Educational Seminar Series: Numerous diverse speakers in this popular seminar series educate volunteers, their guests, and other members of the public about classical music. Encompassing not only the music, but also its creators and performers and how it intersects with other arts and sciences, this series addresses what all these reveal about us as human beings.

Fall in Love with Music: This annual signature fundraising event features a champagne reception followed by lunch or brunch at an elegant location. A special big-name guest artist and a musical performance entertain guests in an intimate setting. The guest artist addresses the group or is interviewed by a prominent personality and may also perform.

Senior and Veteran Engagement Program: Inspired by Maestro Riccardo Muti, this program brings classical music to the underserved senior and veteran populations of greater Chicago. There are 40-50 groups at each open rehearsal, and docents are available to visit groups prior to the rehearsal. This has been hugely successful; 1400 attended the June 2017 rehearsal.

Houston Symphony League, TX

Reach Out and Touch Someone: This project’s goal was to better connect newer members to the League and the symphony through a mentoring program. Warm and welcoming mentors who understood the League’s many activities and projects each reached out to two or three new members, considering each member’s talents and interests. Activities included the first-ever League Road Trip.

Wine Dinner Collectors’ Auction: The auction is a collaboration among the symphony staff, board, young associates, and the League, benefiting education and community programming. Around 100 lots of donated wine, spirits, and wine-related experiences are auctioned, along with a raffle of 110-point wines. The auction is held in conjunction with the annual Wine Dinner.

Kansas City Symphony Alliance, MO

48th Symphony Designers’ Showhouse: “Downtown Abby” (Mrs. Homeowner’s name is Abby) is a 1908 House in the Hyde Park area of Kansas City. Since the interesting basement could not be shown, a video of “Behind the Scenes” was made which included the Kansas City Symphony’s music in the background. The public toured the “upstairs” and the video showed them “downstairs.”

Kansas City Symphony League, MO

Symphony Ball 2016 – Evening Overtures: This elegant, fabulous “evening to remember” included a cocktail hour, silent auction and raffle, 30-minute symphony performance, catered multi-course dinner, and dancing to a high-profile band. A Benefactor Party three evenings prior to the Ball and a League shopping night two months later added to the Ball’s proceeds.

Madison Symphony Orchestra, WI

Concert on the Green: For the 23rd year, this project brought friends and music lovers together for a golf tournament and evening cocktail reception, concert, and gourmet picnic dinner on the lawn of a local country club. This summer tradition is tweaked each year; as examples, a photo booth has been added and complimentary margaritas are passed during the cocktail hour.

Oklahoma City Orchestra League

More Than Just a Pretty Face – Rebranding, Website, and Social Media: When the OKC Philharmonic unveiled a vibrant logo, website, and social media design, the Oklahoma City Orchestra League undertook a rebranding process, successfully replacing an outdated logo/brand and website and expanding social media reach and engagement, reflecting their strong partnership with the OKC Phil.

Friends of the Orlando Philharmonic Orchestra

Friends Music Academy: Sounds of Music Series: This music appreciation series provides adult students with basic music fundamentals in many different musical areas. Four unique, educational, entertaining, and basic classes are offered yearly. Snacks and drinks are provided during a social time to allow students to interact among themselves and with presenters.

Friends of Music Guild, Orchestra of Southern Utah

Seventy-Six Consecutive Years of Handel’s Messiah: This annual tradition brings the community together – giving OSU musicians, the Southern Utah Chorale, and talented soloists the opportunity to shine – and has introduced many patrons to the OSU. Through corporate sponsorships, these concerts are free to the public. A food drive in conjunction with the event focuses on those in need during the holiday season.

Conference 2018 Dine Arounds

Sharon Hatchett, chair of dine-arounds / member of Southside Friends of the Chicago Sinfonietta

We look forward to you joining us for the Chicago Conference. Be sure to arrive a day early (June 12) for Dine-Arounds and enjoy an evening of networking and mingling with Conference attendees from other orchestras and cities.

During the Conference Registration process, be sure to sign up for Dine-Arounds (located among the Pre-Conference events) and prioritize your dining choices from among four great restaurants that are within walking distance (or a short taxi ride) from the Conference hotel. You will be able to order off of the menu and pay for your dinner at the restaurant that evening. A link to each restaurant’s menu is included.


A classic American grill, taking great American dishes and elevating them; serving incredible steaks, prime rib, Berkshire pork, and more including sushi and a raw bar (six oyster varieties daily).

Tavern at The Park

Bi-level, contemporary pub featuring upscale American comfort food, cocktails and an outdoor patio, with entrées from seafood to steak to burgers. You’ll enjoy dining at this acclaimed restaurant and 2018 Award winner by Chicago Concierge located across from beautiful Millennium Park.

Mercat a la Planxa

A swanky setting overlooking Grant Park serving tapas inspired by Spain's Calatan region, featuring cut-to-order charcuterie, cheeses, paella, fresh seafood, steaks, and chops; and Spanish influenced cocktails ranging from seasonally inspired sangria, inventive cocktails, and an extensive collection of Spanish cava and wines.

Trattoria No. 10

Dine in an atmosphere of subdued elegance with arched walkways, murals, and original art serving classic Italian dishes with a contemporary flair. This Chicago favorite since 1989 serves daily specialties including unique, homemade ravioli, rustic pastas, freshly prepared risotto, fresh fish selections, and grilled filet of beef.

Resource Spotlight

Janet Cabot, chair of external communications / member of Madison Symphony Orchestra League

Volunteer organizations often need brand and identity design help on a modest budget. There’s a service to consider for getting needed help at an affordable price. The Association of Major Symphony Orchestra Volunteers (AMSOV) turned to 99designs when they wanted a new logo. Using this online crowdsourcing resource, AMSOV completed a brief and selected a spending level (what they were willing to pay for the design). AMSOV received several potential logos from designers responding to the brief and chose the one that met their needs. See the result as it appears on their website

New AMSOV Logo from 99designs

If you have a helpful online resource that you would like to feature in an upcoming issue, please share with Volunteer Notes by contacting Julie Meredith at julie@meredith.net.

Texas Association for Symphony Orchestras (TASO)

Tiffany Ammerman, volunteer council president-elect / member of Marshall Symphony League

Front Row: Heather Moore, Nancie Rissing, Anna Marie Speir, Jan Woodward, Joi Smith, Laura Hyde; Middle Row: LaDonna Tunnell, Ellen Jones, Annette Findley, Deborah Brown, Jeannie Miller, Kathy Sheldon, Betty Wall, Suzanne Markwell, Terri McDowell; Back Row: Susan Douglas, Helen Shaffer, Marsha Green, Tiffany Ammerman, Terry White, Venice Stuart, Candis Hicks, Grace Boner

Texas Association for Symphony Orchestras (TASO) was “conceived” in1965 at the Women’s Association for Symphony Orchestras (WASO) meeting in New Orleans, Louisiana when delegations from Houston, Dallas, and San Antonio decided it would be beneficial to have such an organization at the state level. It was “born” three years later when 13 Leagues and Guilds came together as Texas Women’s Association for Symphony Orchestras (TWASO) and held their first annual conference in El Paso.

Reflecting changing times, in 1984 “Women’s” was dropped from the name and TWASO became TASO. The one thing that has never changed is the group’s mission: to provide a forum for the exchange of ideas designed to promote, develop, and support symphony orchestras.

Today, TASO has 23 member organizations, each of which is a volunteer organization dedicated to the financial support of its own respective orchestra. The organization is guided by a 25-member governing board and 33-member state board. Affiliate members provide additional support.

Over the years TASO has focused energy on showcasing talent and recognizing outstanding contributions throughout the state. In 1990, TASO created the Award of Excellence to be given to a volunteer, business, and legislator in recognition for outstanding service, support, and promotion of the interests and growth of symphony orchestras. Patron was added as an option to the legislator award in 2007 and became its own fourth award category in 2011. The winners are nominated by TASO member organizations. The Awards of Excellence represent the only recognition of its type by symphonies in Texas.

In 1997, TASO initiated a statewide concerto competition for outstanding high school musicians. The initial underwriting and subsequent funding for the competition were made possible by Juanita and Henry S. Miller. The winners of the completion, which bears Mrs. Miller's name, receive a cash award. The grand prize winner receives the opportunity to perform his or her winning concerto with a symphony orchestra. The Juanita Miller Concerto Competition “JMCC” is a truly professional event, engaging outstanding judges from across the country.

In turn, TASO has been honored to have many of its board members serve on the League of American Orchestras Volunteer Council. Past Volunteer Council Presidents have been elected from Texas including Heather Moore (Dallas), Laura Hyde (Tyler), Helen Shaffer (Houston), Mildred Witte (Tyler), Eva Gayle Gibbs (Austin), and Mary Padgett (Austin).

Present Volunteer Council Members include Terry White (Amarillo), Cindy Kidwell (Tyler), and Tiffany Ammerman (Marshall) who is the current President-Elect. Other TASO Board members elected to serve on the Volunteer Council include Laura Street (Amarillo) and Terri McDowell (San Antonio).

Each year approximately 150 TASO delegates attend the annual conference to gather information and network with their colleagues. Delegates include presidents, presidents-elect, and volunteer leaders from each member organization, as well as symphony orchestra managers and staff. Last year TASO celebrated its 50th Anniversary at the conference in Dallas. The 2018 TASO conference will be held in San Angelo, Texas from April 19-21, and hosted by the San Angelo, Big Spring, and Abilene member organizations. Everyone is welcome to attend.

For more information on TASO or the TASO Conference, please visit the TASO website or contact Volunteer Council member and TASO representative Tiffany Ammerman at tifn2@yahoo.com.

The Volunteer Council of the League of American Orchestras

Front Row: Linda Weisbruch, Janet Cabot, Camille Williams, Becky Odland, Tiffany Ammerman, Iris Harvie, Sheri Gill, Sharon Hatchett; Back Row: Sandy Feldman, Ginny Lundquist, Tresa Radermacher, Beth Wise, Linda Stevens, Debbie McKinney, Cindy Kidwell, Julie Meredith

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


Becky Odland, Minnesota Orchestra, MN | President

Tiffany Ammerman, Marshall Symphony, TX | President-Elect

Debbie McKinney, Oklahoma City Philharmonic, OK | Immediate Past President

Camille Williams, Arkansas Symphony Orchestra, AR | Conference Chair

Linda Stevens, Kansas City Symphony, MO | Conference Chair-Elect


Janet Cabot, Madison Symphony Orchestra, WI

Sandy Feldman, Baltimore Symphony Orchestra, MD

Iris Harvie, Cleveland Orchestra, OH

Sharon Hatchett, Chicago Sinfonietta, IL

Cindy Kidwell, East Texas Symphony Orchestra, TX

Ginny Lundquist, Detroit Symphony Orchestra, MI

Julie Meredith, Utah Symphony, UT | Editor for Volunteer Notes

Tresa Radermacher, Northwest Indiana Symphony Orchestra, IN

Terry Ann White, Amarillo Symphony, TX

Beth Wise, Huntsville Symphony Orchestra, AL

Carol Lou Yaeger, Charleston Symphony Orchestra, SC

Ex-Officio Members

Sheri Gill, Los Angeles Philharmonic, CA | AMSOV President

Sarah Good, Chicago Symphony Orchestra, IL | 2018 Conference Liaison-Chicago

Linda Weisbruch, Charlotte Symphony, NC | Volunteer Council Sustainer Liaison

Marylou Turner, Kansas City Symphony, MO | Sustainer Mentoring Program Chair

Created By
Derek Weagle


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