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Volunteer Council History

“Only in America will you find such a large group of women who enthusiastically pay their own dues to an organization each year for the privilege of working long hours at no pay for a symphony orchestra. It’s incredible!”

-William Steinberg, Conductor, Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra

“The experience, vision, talents, and knowledge which this group of women will begin to bear on the problems and further development of symphony orchestras is unmatched in any other field of civic endeavor undertaken at the national level. The charter membership names form a veritable Who’s Who of volunteer cultural achievement in the land.”      

-Jan-March 1964 issue of Newsletter of the League

Purpose – 1964

“To strengthen and enrich symphony orchestras at the national level by using the experience and leadership of women dedicated to the betterment of music in consonance with the principles of the American Symphony Orchestra League.”

1962

  • The League recognized the women’s associations of the U.S. and Canada with its highest honor, the Gold Baton.

1963

  • Helen Thompson, executive vice president of League, stressed need for a national women’s council at Convention in San Francisco.
  • Board of Directors of the League announced the formation of the Women’s Council of the American Symphony Orchestra League.
  • Steering committee of 12 from League Board of Directors established, 3 added at Conference.                  

1964 – 1965

  • Women’s Council presented to League at Convention Keynote Luncheon in Detroit.
  • Membership consisted of Past Presidents (not their organizations) from symphony women’s associations, total 112 charter members, 65 associations.
  • Women of the League Board of Directors who served on the Steering Committee were appointed to Charter Membership in the Council.
  • Permanent membership in the Women’s Council was conferred on the charter members.
  • Current presidents are “provisional members” with no active involvement in Council projects, but receive Council information.
  • Council has three officers, four board members, nine regions with a regional director and area chair.
  • A National Speakers Bureau was established.
  • A program to collect green stamps in order to purchase a station wagon for League headquarters is begun.
  • Bylaws formally adopted.
  • First annual awards presented for women’s associations’ work.
  • Regional workshops held.

1967 – 1969

  • Thirty-one page summary of 143 projects from 53 women’s associations produced as result of questionnaire sent to all member associations.
  • Categories for Women’s Association awards were Major, Metropolitan, Community, and Urban Orchestras.

1971 – 1973

  • Lifted the restriction on Past President’s only membership.
  • Started keeping records on fundraising and ticket sales (beginning of Gold Book structure).

1975 – 1977

  • Conference Roundtables were started.
  • Past Presidents of the Women’s Council Board became non-voting life members of the Board.
  • The First Lady, Mrs. Gerald Ford, and many Governors’ wives accepted honorary membership.
  • First Gold Book published.

1977 – 1979

  • Membership was up to 500 organizations.
  • First newsletter sent Fall 1977.

1979 – 1981

  • Audrey Baird award for creative Ticket Sales initiated.
  • Women’s Council renamed Volunteer Council.

1981 – 1982

  • Volunteer Council President and Conference Chair to participate in League Conference planning from the beginning.
  • Council invited to the White House for a concert and reception by President and Mrs. Reagan.
  • Established an annual Reunion Dinner of present and past Volunteer Council Board members.

1982 – 1983

  • The Recorder, (newsletter), made its debut in spring providing a professional public relations image for the Council.

1986 – 1987

  • Department of Volunteer Services established to expand and implement programs and publications to help volunteers effectively support their orchestras.
  • 197 Volunteer Organization members, 3,401 individuals.

1989 – 1990

  • Change in focus from individual membership to volunteer association membership.

1991 – 1992

  • New format for the Gold Book with 900 entries.

1994 – 1995

  • Mentor program established.

1997 – 1998

  • Volunteer organizations now automatically included in their orchestra’s membership of the League.
  • Volunteer Council Handbook was completed and distributed.

1998 – 1999

  • Developed a Resource Directory of Council members and their areas of expertise available for calls and consultation.

1999 – 2000

  • Email discussion groups established to facilitate contact with other volunteers of like-size orchestras.

2002 – 2003

  • Online newsletter renamed Volunteer Notes and delivered via email.

2005-2006

  • Gold Book went online in searchable format –  goldbookonline.org

2006-2007

  • Constituent issues personal phone calls made to over 200 volunteer organization presidents with letters mailed to those who weren’t reached by phone.

2008-2009

  • Seven issues of Volunteer Notes were emailed to 1,500 volunteers by October.
  • The Gold Book Online website was updated and the new feature, Project of the Month, debuted in April.

2010

  • Established Volunteer Council section on the League website
  • Initiated Mentor Circles (now called Strategic Conversations) for volunteer presidents and president-elects led by the Volunteer Council President

2013

  • Received the League’s Gold Baton Award at the annual National Conference

2014

  • Commemorated the 50th anniversary of the Volunteer Council by raising in excess of $80,000

2019

  • Revamped Awards program: Goldbook Award became the Gold Award of Excellence and a Gold Award of Excellence Award logo was created; Roundtable Awards became the Spotlight Awards.

Presidents

1964 – 1967Sally Parker – Nashville, TN
1967 – 1969 Viola Eustis – Cincinnati, OH
1969 – 1971Beatrice Rubin – Milwaukee, WI
1971 – 1973 Barbara Tucker – Birmingham, MI
1973 – 1975 Audrey Baird – Milwaukee, WI
1975 – 1977June Barnes – Seattle, WA
1977 – 1979Marian Meditch – Indianapolis, IN
1979 – 1981 Martha Copen – New Haven, CT
1981 – 1982Sonia Wilson – Austin, TX
1982 – 1983Sally Carmichael – Jackson, MS
1983 – 1984Sandra Apolinsky – Mountain Brook, AL
1984 – 1985Mitch Jericho – Dallas, TX
1985 – 1986  Anita Cast – Fort Wayne, IN
1986 – 1987Lois Ross – Dayton, OH
1987 – 1988Lois Allen – Columbus, OH
1988 – 1989Phyllis Mills – New York, NY
1989 – 1990 Jan Amis Jessup – Boca Raton, FL
1990 – 1991Carole Birkhead – Louisville, KY
1991 – 1992Jean Skinner – Hummelstown, PA
1992 – 1993Mary Padgett – Austin, TX
1993 – 1994Joni McNeill – Chattanooga, TN
1994 – 1995 Nancy Simmons – Billings, MT
1995 – 1996 Jane Kornblut-Wilhaus – McLean, VA
1996 – 1997 Nina Doggett – Boston, MA
1997 – 1998Florence Parker – Albuquerque, NM
1998 – 1999Anne Miller – Edina, MN
1999 – 2000 Rae Wade Trimmier – Mountain Brook, AL
2000 – 2001JoAnne Krause – Brookfield, WI
2001 – 2002 Betty Reichert – Hopkins, MN
2002 – 2003 Shirley D. McCrary – Mooresville, AL
2003 – 2004 Eva Gayle Gibbs – Austin, TX
2004 – 2005  Sunny Lundgren – Omaha, NE
2005 – 2006  Pam Weaver – Greer, SC
2006 – 2007 Lois Margolin – Des Moines, IA
2007 – 2008 Penny Van Horn – Chicago, IL
2008 – 2009Judy Christl – Glendale, WI
2009 – 2010Jane Van Dyk – Billings, MT
2010 – 2011Heather Moore – Dallas, TX
2011 – 2012Chuck Cagle – Franklin, TN
2012 – 2013Helen Shaffer – Houston, TX
2013 – 2014 Laura Hyde – Tyler, TX
2014 – 2015 Margarita Contreni – Lafayette, IN
2015 – 2016 Linda Weisbruch – Charlotte, NC
2016 – 2017Debbie McKinney – Oklahoma City, OK
2017 – 2018Becky Odland – Minneapolis, MN
2018 – 2019Tiffany Ammerman – Marshall, TX
2019 – 2020Terry Ann White – Amarillo, TX
2020 – 2021Cynthia Kidwell – Tyler, TX

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