Boston News

Suzanne Baum

Members of the BSAV Executive Committee pose backstage
after the BSAV Named Concert with conductor Bramwell Tovey.

Volunteer Mary Cooper helps a child make his first sounds on the
French horn during the fall instrument playground.

Message from Suzanne Baum, BSAV Boston Vice-chair

An enthusiastic spirit of volunteering and many hours of service characterize the Boston Symphony Association of Volunteers. In appreciation for this dedication, the Office of Volunteer Services invited members to attend the BSAV Named Concert on Saturday, January 14, 2017, featuring conductor Bramwell Tovey and organist Cameron Carpenter. The event began with a pre-concert reception in the Cabot-Cahners Room where 68 Boston volunteers plus their guests, as well as 21 volunteers who journeyed from Tanglewood, gathered for a pleasant evening of friends, music, and fun! "It was wonderful to catch up with volunteers I have not seen this season," remarked Boston volunteer Judy Albee. The anticipation was high for what was reviewed to be a wonderful concert. Organist Cameron Carpenter delighted with his performance of Barber's Toccata Festiva,Terry Riley's At the Royal Majestic, and Elgar's Enigma Variations. Acknowledging his appreciative audience, Carpenter played two encores, one by Bach and the other "Fly Me to the Moon," uplifting enough to actually take us there. "I had never heard popular music played on the organ," commented Tanglewood volunteer Adele Cukor. Leading the orchestra was Bramwell Tovey, gifted English conductor, composer, and talented pianist, who possesses a delightful sense of humor. Adele observed, "I was very impressed that upon meeting the conductor backstage the first thing he did was thank us for all we do. It was a pleasure to go to the Named Concert."

Two important volunteer opportunities are occurring in March. Symphony Play Day at the Children's Museum was Sunday, March 12, from noon-2:00pm, where volunteers assisted with the instrument playground. BSO musicians performed at 2:30pm and 3:30pm. Last year's event was a huge success, and this year's was equally so with lots of kids and families enjoying the opportunity to try an orchestral instrument for the first time. WCRB's Cartoon Festival is Saturday, March 25, from 10:00am until 4:00pm. Our role will be the same as last year - escorting their volunteers and giving tours.

The Boston BSAV Recognition Event will be held on Monday, May 15 at 5:30pm. Please save the date and watch for forthcoming invitations. To each volunteer, we appreciate everything you do to support our many projects. Your service and dedication is invaluable.

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Suzanne Baum
Vice-Chair, Boston

Volunteer Emerita Marilyn Larkin (right) with volunteers
Wilma Michaels and Tanglewood Vice-chair Alexandra Warshaw

Volunteer Emeriti Shine in Boston and at Tanglewood

By Cassandra Gordon

All BSAV members are special. However, there is a specific subset that has elevated their service to another level: the Volunteer Emeriti. These men and women have been involved with the BSO for 10 or more years or have clocked at least 250 hours. Whichever way, they all share one common denominator: a deep passion for and loyalty to the BSO.

Bill Grace began volunteering in 1995 and continued for 18 years. A chemist for 45 years and by birth a Bostonian, Bill was facing his first retirement and wanted to keep his "mind and body interested." His company offered many volunteer opportunities and he chose the BSO because of his love of choral music. He gravitated toward the archives of the orchestra, finding great satisfaction in protecting, preserving, and making available all documents associated with the orchestra. He especially enjoyed answering requests for researchers, which he likened to uncovering mysteries. He loved the challenge so much that he decided to become a tour guide as well. Sharing his knowledge of the Hall was very rewarding, especially with school groups. Although Bill no longer volunteers, he still sings in his church choir and in a number of local choruses.

Betty Stone, a pianist, began volunteering seven years ago. She was front-and-center as you entered Symphony Hall for Friday concerts, standing at the entrance doors and manning the membership stand. As a "people person" and a musician, she could interact with Symphony patrons and got to hear all the concerts gratis. She has made many friendships and always previews the Friday program so that she can listen to the symphonic pieces ahead of time. Her greatest satisfaction though is her feeling that she was sustaining the BSO, which she believes is a "national treasure."

The Emeriti program is strong in the Berkshires, too. Marilyn Larkin, a Pittsfield native, and her late husband Bill became involved with Tanglewood more than 50 years ago. She began attending concerts when she was 18 and remembers when the Koussevitsky Shed was built -- and has not missed a concert since. Leonard Bernstein was a particular favorite. She looked forward to his concerts and also attended his conducting classes. She even presented him with one of her paintings of Tanglewood. When Ozawa Hall was built, she and Bill stepped up to be donors. Once again, she did a painting of Tanglewood for Mr. Ozawa. As a wonderful tribute, her painting was then silk-screened onto sweatshirts and sold in the Tanglewood Glass Houses. Marilyn has been involved with every aspect of the BSAV and eventually joined BSAV leadership with her husband. Ever the lifelong learner, she still never misses a Tanglewood concert, and her new interest is working to understand contemporary music. She says that she simply cannot live without the BSO.

And the BSO certainly cannot live without all of their volunteers! 

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