“It takes a village to raise a child” goes the well-known proverb. For the Madison Symphony Orchestra League, it can be said that it takes a community of members to support the Symphony with their time, talent, and passion. “Everything our 64-year-old organization does depends on volunteers. They are critical to our ability to support the orchestra’s artistic and educational mission,” said Beth Rahko. “Last year more than 88 people answered the call. They served on committees to plan fundraising events, joined musicians in the classroom, acted as greeters for youth concerts and auditions, sponsored and hosted Parties of Note, planned member activities, and more. Fundraising is also ‘fun-raising.’ We enjoy the creativity and camaraderie of planning events and participating in activities that benefit the Symphony and our community.”

What does it mean to be an MSOL volunteer? Consider the Concert on the Green committee: more than 20 people began meeting regularly nine months in advance to plan last year’s golf tournament, concert, and dinner. Similar numbers of volunteers devoted hours over many months to coordinate the 2019 Gala and the 2020 Parties of Note. The collective hours of these dedicated people resulted in events that raised over $140,000 last year. MSOL volunteers don’t do it alone, however. The Symphony staff are at our side as partners; they share their expertise and provide needed counsel and support.

Volunteering goes well beyond fundraising events. MSOL docents accompanied MSO musicians to Madison-area schools to prepare young students for attending the Fall Youth Concerts. Volunteers then greeted and seated MSO guests at those concerts. During the Bolz Youth Artist Competition, volunteers helped monitor and direct students to warm-up and audition rooms.

Last year we celebrated volunteers by inviting them to our first Volunteer Appreciation Party. We wanted to say thank you at an event that required nothing of our hardworking volunteers except to come, enjoy themself, and feel appreciated for all they did.

The Volunteer Appreciation Party was recognized for its success — it received one of eight Spotlight Awards from the Volunteer Council of the League of American Orchestras. Although COVID-19 has put this year’s Appreciation Party on hold, you can be sure that when it is safe to gather again, we will be celebrating volunteerism at the MSOL. We can’t say thank you enough to those who have given and continue to give their time.

For concert-goers looking for another way to support the MSO and get involved, we invite you to join the MSOL and become one of our engaged and dedicated volunteers. We’d love to say thank you to you next April when National Volunteer Month rolls around again!


View photos from the 2019 Symphony Gala

View photos from the 2019 Concert on the Green