by Rhonda P. Hunsinger
Yesterday afternoon several members of the Symphony League came by the office to present another check to us. I write that as if it is something we take for granted. “Oh yes, the League came by again with more money.”
The reality is that we (you, me, our Board, the staff, SCP patrons and musicians) often don’t have any real concept of what is happening behind the scenes to enable this volunteer group to support an organization like ours. What do you envision? A few parties and membership meetings? Maybe they have bake sales, too.
Baking and food are involved, but it is in the form of providing brunch to an entire orchestra two days in a row between our educational Link Up concerts at the Koger Center in February, as well as preparing a beautiful spread of homemade treats for a grand celebration party after one of our Masterworks concerts. This season, under the leadership of President Anna Griswold, Symphony League members also held numerous fundraising events and parties: an after work wine tasting event at M. Grille, a Christmas party at Harry and Betsy Mashburn’s home, a piano concert featuring Marina Lomazov at the home of Gillian & Helmut Albrecht, a Hand and Foot party, a Mah Jongg party, a Bridge luncheon, a past president’s luncheon and a grand Kentucky Derby party to finish the season. (And I’ve probably missed something – there is that much to keep track of!) You can only begin to imagine the work involved in each of these events: planning, finding sponsors and hosts, coordinating logistics, decorating, and sometimes the hardest part because you are so darned tired – cleaning up afterwards.
Some of the funds raised go to the Symphony League Endowment. Distributions from this endowment, in turn, are given to the SC Phil. A portion of proceeds from special events also goes directly to the SC Phil. This year the Symphony League presented the SC Phil with two checks totaling $30,000 – an extraordinary level of giving for which we are not only very thankful, but that we are able to use to continue providing the youth education and concert programs the League works so hard to support.
Beyond all this, the Symphony League has an organized structure that enables them to work efficiently and effectively, and they are strong partners with the SC Phil. In addition to the countless hours of work for the League, their president serves on the SC Phil’s Board of Directors. Their Education Chair serves as liaison to the SC Phil’s Education Committee.
In an era when orchestra volunteer leagues around the country are struggling with membership, the SC Phil’s Symphony League celebrated their 50th anniversary this season with 35 new members. They have a new website and a facebook page. They won’t tell you they don’t have their challenges. Continued increases in membership are critical to their survival and growth. And the League’s survival and growth enable their continued support of the SC Phil.
For more information: Symphony League Membership