Winter 2016

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Volunteer Notes Winter Issue 2016

Mission: The Volunteer Council in partnership with the League of American Orchestras strives to lead, advocate, encourage, support, and serve our member orchestras and their volunteers.
In this issue:

Notes from Linda Weisbruch, Volunteer Council President

LindaWeisbruchEmail1.pngThese past few months have been a whirlwind of activity for the Volunteer Council! As we go out with the old year and bring in the new, we’d like to share a few notable achievements in 2015, and highlight key activities planned for 2016.
Our 2015 Strategic Conversations Series for Presidents and Presidents-Elect wrapped up in November. We shared numerous challenges, successes and opportunities – it is always amazing how much we volunteers have in common, regardless of where we live or the size of our home orchestras.  We also exchanged some very creative solutions for member recruitment and mentoring, social media, development staff relations, and many other areas of volunteer management.

This year, in an attempt to grow the reach of this program, we are sharing the content of these conversations with all volunteers. You can access outlines from the conference calls and take a peek at the myriad of topics we discussed on the League’s website - simply click here!

A huge thank you goes out to the twelve volunteer presidents and presidents-elect who participated, and a special thanks goes to my Volunteer Council colleagues Debbie McKinney and Terry White, who co-hosted the Conversations with me, and our League liaisons, Samara Ungar and Caitlin Whealon.

Looking forward, the League’s 2016 National Conference will take place in Baltimore June 9-11*:  

  • The Volunteer Council met in Baltimore this past November to begin planning volunteer activities.
  • This year’s Gold Book Award-winning volunteer projects will be featured at conference, and each of the projects are highlighted in this newsletter.
  • On-line Conference registration and program details will be available in early February at
  • The Baltimore Symphony Associates, representing our host city, are laying out the welcome mat to ensure you see Baltimore at its best!

For more details on the volunteer track of Conference, please continue reading this issue of Volunteer Notes.

As you may have already seen, the League of American Orchestras announced its new five-year strategic plan earlier this month. This roadmap for creating a vibrant and sustainable future for our orchestras comes at a moment of great possibility in the orchestra field, as orchestras are embracing the opportunities presented by the current environment with vigor and ingenuity. Synthesizing feedback from member orchestras and other stakeholders, including members of the Volunteer Council, the effort was led by a strategic planning task force of the League’s Board of Directors.

Read a brief overview of the League's Strategic Plan here.

Find abridged and full versions of the Strategic Plan here.

In closing, each of the Volunteer Council members wishes you a wonderful new year filled with beautiful music, much joy and a plethora of rewarding learning experiences!

*Please note that the main dates of Conference, June 9-11, 2016, are a Thursday – Saturday (this schedule is different than our recent conferences). Additionally, there will be some pre-Conference volunteer activities beginning on Wednesday, June 8, 2016.

Calling all Volunteers – 2016 League of American Orchestras’ Conference

The Volunteer Council is actively planning an informative and productive program for volunteers at the League’s 2016 Conference in Baltimore. Volunteer sessions from June 9-11* include compelling Gold Book Awards of Excellence sessions, a collaborative panel, and special Dine-Around options to taste the best of Baltimore.

For a taste of Baltimore in your own home, check out this recipe for crab cakes, provided by Iris Harvie. Along with being a member of the League of American Orchestras Volunteer Council, Iris is a culinary school trained chef.

The League’s conference theme, “The Richness of Difference”, provides an opportunity to consider the role volunteers play in supporting their orchestras as they strive to reach new and diverse audiences. With this in mind, our volunteer sessions for the 2016 Conference will highlight some differences but yet portray how we are also similar. Conference attendees may also participate in cross-constituent elective sessions, as well as plenaries. A highlight will undoubtedly be a performance by the acclaimed Baltimore Symphony Orchestra under the direction of Maestra Marin Alsop.

Attending Conference is a great way to connect with orchestra volunteers from across the country, get answers to questions, and share best practices with other volunteer organizations. We hope to see you at the 2016 League Conference at the Baltimore Marriott Waterfront.

*Please note that the main dates of Conference, June 9-11, 2016, are a Thursday – Saturday (this schedule is different than our recent conferences). Additionally, there will be some pre-Conference volunteer activities beginning on Wednesday, June 8, 2016.

Announcing the 2016 Gold Book Awards of Excellence Winners: Innovative Ideas for Your Volunteer Association

Innovation, volunteer involvement, return on investment, and impact are the primary criteria the Volunteer Council utilizes to evaluate volunteer projects submitted each year to the League's volunteer project website Eight projects are recognized as winners of the Gold Book Awards of Excellence and presented by volunteers at conference.

The winning organizations and their projects are highlighted below:

Volunteers for Symphony of the Quad City Symphony Orchestra (IA/IL): 100 Years,
100 Cellos
: Cello-brating the 100th anniversary of the Quad City Symphony Orchestra, we brought together art and music to celebrate this historic year while raising awareness and funds to benefit the music education programs of the QCSO.

Arkansas Symphony Orchestra Guild Society, Inc. (AR):  All Decked out for the Symphony: Four decks of cards were created, each featuring photographs and information unique to Arkansas points of interest. Each card had sponsors at the $100-$150 level who covered printing costs. Guild members sold decks at multiple venues for $10, netting over $50,000.

The Symphony Guild of Charlotte, Inc. (NC): Heart of the Home Kitchen Tour: Having produced 37 multi-week designer houses over the years, our organization was well trained to transfer those skills to produce a one-day tour of eight over-the-top homes and their indoor and outdoor kitchens. Tastings, demonstrations, and music enhanced our new signature fundraiser.

Augusta Symphony Guild (GA): Cotillion's 50th Anniversary: 1199 former debs, spanning three generations, came together to celebrate their legacy.  An event was held which featured an Avenue of Gowns and memorabilia. With heightened community support, this reunion became a fundraiser.

Women's Symphony League of Tyler (TX): Approach to Scrapbooking: A picture speaks a 1000 words! Are you looking for a great way to document each year of your organization? A beautifully prepared hard bound book is the best way. This is a wonderful project that is easy and forever tells the history of your organization.

Women's Symphony League of Tyler (TX): Annual Jazz Spectacular:  The Annual Jazz Spectacular is a collaboration of a guest Jazz Artist and the Tyler Junior College Jazz Band. It is held at the beautiful, quaint Liberty Hall in Tyler, TX. The event is open and heavily attended by the public with a reception with the Guest Artist to follow.

Oklahoma City Orchestra League, Inc. (OK): You're Never Too Old to Start Over - The ESCCO Project: Leadership burnout? Fundraisers in a slump? Aging membership? Top-heavy governance? Sound familiar? Proud and strong since 1948, a league takes the leap of faith to restructure, revitalize, and survive.

Friends of the Minnesota Orchestra (MN): "Perfect Square": Kinder Konzerts Commission, Premiere, and Regular Season: Friends of the Minnesota Orchestra has commissioned 17 new chamber orchestra works with story narrator for pre-school education in our Kinder Konzerts program since 1984. We will share highlights of the latest book and composer selection, commissioning, premiering, and regular season.

Life at the League: Introducing Caitlin Whealon, League Volunteer Council Liaison

Caitlin Whealon will officially become the League Volunteer Council Liaison following the 2016 League National Conference in Baltimore. Caitlin joined the League staff in September 2015 as Meetings and Logistics Coordinator and comes from Milwaukee, where she had been an Events Assistant with the United Performing Arts Fund, a non-profit organization that provides financial support for 15 member groups and a diverse group of affiliates in southwestern Wisconsin.

She is a graduate of the University of Minnesota with a degree in art history, business, and public relations. After graduation, she moved to Sarasota, Florida, to be an intern with Florida Studio Theater before returning home to Milwaukee.

Caitlin also volunteers with nycTIES, a non-profit service organization comprised of young professionals committed to building strong ties within the NYC community through volunteering and philanthropic giving. In addition, she is enjoying many things unique to New York City – including Central Park, Broadway shows, and the variety of restaurants.

She looks forward to working with the members of the Volunteer Council and the Volunteer Council members look forward to working with her!

Caitlin has been working hand in hand with, and will be replacing, Samara Ungar as the liaison to the Volunteer Council. Do not worry though; Samara is still at the League and will continue to remain close to the Volunteer Council and its work. As of July, Samara is managing the League’s annual fund, as part of the development department.

Celebrating Decades of Diversity: Sharon Hatchett and the Southside Friends of the Chicago Sinfonietta

In line with the League’s continuing focus on diversity and inclusion in the orchestra field, Margarita Contreni, immediate past-president of the Volunteer Council, interviewed Sharon Hatchett, president of the Southside Friends of the Chicago Sinfonietta.

SharonHatchettPic(1).PNGThe Chicago Sinfonietta has dedicated its 2015-16 season to the memory and legacy of Founder and Music Director Paul Freeman and his lifelong devotion to music and the rich diversity of human achievement. We asked Sharon Hatchett, President of the orchestra’s Southside Friends, to talk about the unique mission of the orchestra as well as the role that the volunteer organization has played in supporting this mission. A corporate lawyer with extensive global experience working in the manufacturing sector, Sharon is President of the Hatchett Group LLC, which provides consulting services on automotive, ethics, and business transactions.

What is your orchestra’s mission? Maestro Freeman dedicated the Chicago Sinfonietta, which he founded in 1987, to promoting diversity, inclusion, and innovative programming. It is a mission that we’re very proud of and which distinguishes us. I believe that it is critical for other orchestras to take this mission to heart in order to really have an impact on their communities. I find that there is a lot of divisiveness in our country, yet we all share a love of music in common and that, through music, we can connect with people on a profound level. Music brings people together.

You can find the remainder of this article here.