Volunteer Notes December 2007

The newsletter for Orchestra Volunteers


The Newsletter for
Symphony Orchestra Volunteers

December 2007

 

IT’S ALL ABOUT THE MUSIC
GETTING TO KNOW OUR PRESIDENT
TAKING ACTION TOGETHER
IT’S NEW!
BE A FAN OF CLASSICAL MUSIC!
THE ART OF LEADERSHIP
CROSS COUNTRY EVENTS
MILWAUKEE REGIONAL WORKSHOP

LET US HEAR FROM YOU

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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.
 
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IT’S ALL ABOUT THE MUSIC
Volunteer Council President Penny Van Horn

Volunteer Council President Penny Van Horn

Do you ever wonder why we volunteer? For some, the reason is to learn and grow, to make a contribution, or to create positive change. For others, volunteerism is being part of something we love, working to make exciting goals happen. Whether we share musical experiences with others, create opportunities for access to the musical experience, or build financial support, for me the most important reason we volunteer is to ensure that the joy of live music is accessible to all. I believe it is hearing our orchestras perform symphonic music that moves, inspires, and sustains us. 

Your willingness to give generously of your time, talents, creativity and leadership makes it possible to achieve our goal of supporting our orchestras and for them to continue to transport us. It is all about the music… 

Quote from a Chicago Symphony Orchestra musician: 

Volunteer support is not just important to the future of the arts in this country, it is crucial.  Volunteer support is the life blood of orchestras. It is more than financial; it is the spirit and soul of making music. You help us celebrate our lives in the orchestra, you help us appreciate the human face of our supporters and you inspire us to perform, not just for an audience, but for our friends.” 

Wishing you the joy of music during the holiday season and success in the New Year, 

Penny Van Horn, Volunteer Council President

GETTING TO KNOW OUR PRESIDENT
Penny Van Horn and Hermine Gagne, violinist with the CSO
Penny Van Horn and Hermine Gagne, violinist with the CSO

From the time she was a child, observing her father give back to the community, volunteering has shaped Penny Van Horn’s life. Penny has been involved in many volunteer activities since moving to Chicago in 1982. Her volunteer positions include Chairman of the School Board, President of ART (Art Resources in Teaching), Field Museum Women’s Board, and Ravinia Women’s Board. She was President of The Women’s Association of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra from 2000 to 2004 and is now serving as a Trustee of the Orchestra and a board member of the CSO Institute of Learning, Access and Training.

Penny is passionate about building partnerships and understanding within symphony families and being an advocate for our orchestras. Her commitment to this process encouraged Penny to engage John Hagstrom, CSO trumpet player, members of The Women’s Association, and CSO staff to join together to form the CSO Advocates. The purpose of CSO Advocates is to explore the process of listening to orchestral music and then sharing that enriching experience with others. Their goal is to ignite, in others, curiosity about the music, make it accessible, and in the process “open the doors” for all to seek a personal connection with their orchestra. 

In all of Penny’s volunteer capacities, she is building partnerships and opening doors for others to do the same. 

Janet Barb, Volunteer Notes Editor

TAKING ACTION TOGETHER
Colorado Convention Center
Colorado Convention Center

“Taking Action Together” is the theme of the 2008 National Performing Arts Convention (NPAC) to be held June 10-14, in Denver, Colorado.  The League of American Orchestras (formerly the American Symphony Orchestra League) will be joining OPERA America, Chorus America, Dance/USA, Chamber Music America, Theatre Communications Group and several other arts associations to celebrate the essential nature of the arts. 

While the Volunteer Council is planning some sessions specifically for volunteers, NPAC will strive to create a new level of unity among participants through carefully designed programming. A series of town-meeting-style discussions is the centerpiece of the Convention. Plenary sessions begin on Wednesday and culminate with a session on Saturday. 

The Volunteer Council is excited about this opportunity to engage in discussion groups and talk to other arts enthusiasts about the issues we all face.  Our interactive sessions address leadership topics which will prepare our volunteers to participate with other arts groups and staff as we come together for our common cause. 

This Convention will take place at the Hyatt Regency Denver and the Colorado Convention Center. For more information visit performingartsconvention.org 

Sandra Leister, Conference Chairman

IT’S NEW!

It’s exciting! It’s colorful! It’s contemporary! What is it? It’s the League’s new website! The League of American Orchestras not only has a new name, it also has an exciting new look. The League website has been changed, updated, and given a contemporary appearance. The League’s new website is more compelling to look at and easier to navigate. All of the information and resources for volunteers are now available on the new site, as are many other informative articles and resources. Please look for our new appearance at americanorchestras.org

Sandra Weingarten, Email Discussion/Website Chairman

BE A FAN OF CLASSICAL MUSIC!

(photo: Dan Rest)

We may think Arts Advocacy is only about writing to our legislators, but the most important part of your work is in your hometown.
 

Our cities work hard to attract businesses and families, because this creates jobs, increases the tax base and enables more services to be provided.  Residents often consider cost of living, availability of good housing, schools, transportation and a healthy lifestyle. The arts, however, are often forgotten as an important component of the community.

Let’s talk up the arts at home! A recent Symphony article, “Are You Listening?”, describes how orchestras can better engage civic leaders. One idea is to invite your mayor to a concert where young children will hear an orchestra for the very first time. Let him or her greet the children and see the excitement on their faces! Encourage your mayor to keep music and the other arts in mind when talking about your city. This will raise your community’s arts profile. 

Be an advocate at home. Never waste a concert ticket. Give it to a neighbor, a new friend or, best of all, a student. Speak to city council members and other leaders about how your orchestra contributes to the quality of life in your community. Encourage your orchestra to sign on to the League’s Statement of Common Cause in support of In-School Music Education. You are the best possible advocate in your own city.  Practice the wonderful freedom of speech we enjoy as Americans and speak out for music! 

LaDonna Meinders, Arts Advocacy Chairman

THE ART OF LEADERSHIP

Do you want to sharpen your leadership skills? Two books by Max De Pree are a must for every leader’s library, and their titles are especially compelling for those who devote their volunteer energies to the field of music.

Leadership is an Art has been called astonishing by Bill Clinton, and the Washington Post says that it is “small and soulful enough to be carried around like a prayer book -- and, in some respects, it is.” In a brief 148 pages, De Pree shares information and stories that will help you examine your own personal art of leadership and the responsibilities of that leadership. You will gain insight that will bring you back to the reality that human values form the basis for extraordinary leadership. 

In Leadership Jazz, De Pree asserts, “Leadership, like jazz, is a public performance, dependent on so many things -- the environment, the volunteers in the band, the need for everybody to perform as individuals and as a group, the absolute dependence of the leader on the members of the band.” In this easy read, he shows why and how the best leaders, like the best music, inspire us to see new possibilities, and why beauty and harmony must pervade an organization and all it does. 

These two small books are packed with great thoughts on leadership in clear and elegant prose.  Happy reading! 

Jo Ellen Saylor, Member Recruitment Chairman

CROSS COUNTRY EVENTS
Friends of the Indian Hills Orchestra
Friends of the Indian Hills Orchestra

A successful wine-tasting event was held on November 2, sponsored by the Friends of the Indian Hills Orchestra (Massachusetts). This fundraiser attracted more young professionals than usually attend the Friends events. The evening included participation by twenty wine vendors, donated food, jazz music and a raffle of wine-related items. This event produced an amazing profit/expense ratio of 9:1. The group is now planning a new event to be held in March –- a fashion show with a champagne reception.   

Congratulations to the Windsor Symphony Volunteer Association (Windsor, Ontario, Canada). They have just wrapped up a year of celebrating their 50th anniversary. The Association had a very successful year of fundraising and the highlight was their “Symphony of Fashion” event, which attracts between 800 and 900 people annually. The festivities will continue this year when the Association helps the Symphony celebrate its 60th year. 

The Friends of the Green Bay Symphony, Inc. (Green Bay, Wisconsin) are in the final planning stages for their Gala, which is held each January. They are hoping for a “Big Bang” this year, raising more money than ever! To accomplish this goal, the location and entertainment have been changed. The evening will include a gourmet dinner, dancing, and a live auction.    

Lynne Nisoff, Marketing Chairman

MILWAUKEE REGIONAL WORKSHOP
Volunteer Regional Workshop in Milwaukee, WI.
Volunteer Regional Workshop in Milwaukee, WI.

Thirty-five people, representing seven volunteer organizations, attended the Regional Workshop held in Milwaukee, WI, on Friday, September 28, 2007. After registration, Volunteer Council member Judy Christl introduced the host city chairman, JoAnne Krause; Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra League President, Linda Tojek; Mark Hanson, President and Executive Director of the Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra; and Martin Sher, a League of American Orchestras Management Fellow from Denver, CO who is serving his fellowship with the Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra. 

KC Skolnik, the League’s board and volunteer services manager, discussed the services the League offers for volunteers. 

Sandra Leister presented the Membership Workshop, incorporating the areas of recruiting, integration, and retention of volunteers. Lois Margolin presented the Fund Raising Workshop, detailing methods for selecting a fundraising event that suits a particular group and their goals. Volunteers from each orchestra sat together to plan an event for their organization and then reported back on the events they discussed. 

The Council appreciates the effort and time required of the participants, some of whom drove 3 1/2 hours to attend. 

The next Regional Workshop will be in Harrisburg, PA, on March 7, 2008. 

To apply to host a Regional Workshop, please contact KC Skolnik at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. .  

Caryl Kassoy, Regional Workshop Chairman

LET US HEAR FROM YOU

VOLUNTEER NOTES Chairman Janet Barb
VOLUNTEER NOTES Chairman Janet Barb

The goal of Volunteer Notes is to provide relevant and useful information to volunteer organizations across the United States and Canada.  To better serve you, we would like to know what topics would be most helpful.  Please tell us if you would like to read more skill-building topics, cross-country news, successful projects, or other subjects.  Your input is important.  As the Council editor of Volunteer Notes, I hope to hear your suggestions soon; please email me at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. .

Janet Barb, Volunteer Notes Chairman
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