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BSO, Pops, Tanglewood, and Symphony Hall Logos
March 13, 2024

Changes Coming to the Volunteer Emeritus Program

By Nancy Finn, Vice Chair

The Volunteer Emeritus (VE) arm of the BSAV, Tanglewood is undergoing a transformation to make this program more dynamic and responsive to its members. A new position has been established within the BSAV structure with Arthur Blumenthal at the helm, working with Susan Murawczyk, Co-Chair of Volunteer and Community Engagement, Tanglewood, to reshape this organization. The primary goal will be to create opportunities for VE members to engage with the BSO and Tanglewood community. Additionally, two new policies have been put in place to benefit current VEs and any volunteers who may be thinking of shifting from active volunteering to VE status. These policies include the elimination of the annual VE fee of $100 that has been required in the past, and the opportunity to choose a pair of complimentary tickets to two concerts from a predefined list of shed concerts during the Tanglewood or BSO season. Of course, you will also be eligible for other concerts that all volunteers may be invited to attend.

“But that is just the beginning of the benefits that we are planning for the VEs,” says Art who is committed to making the summer season for VEs active and engaging. “My personal goal is to help keep retired volunteers interested in Tanglewood and provide them with an active agenda of programs. We are hoping to offer gatherings throughout the summer similar to the coffee talks that were established during COVID and have been so popular among the volunteers. We hope to have a lecture and a series of meetings, perhaps with a member of the Fellows program or the Orchestra. We also hope to be able to arrange to have VEs attend a closed rehearsal of the orchestra and possibly one of the Fellows’ Master classes. We hope to be able to Zoom these programs to VEs who are living in distant locations and cannot get to Tanglewood, but still want to feel connected to and a part of the organization,” he said.

Carole Siegel, with nearly 40 years of service, including Chair of the BSO’s volunteer organization at Tanglewood in the 1990s, and the co-creator and project lead for the Ambassador Program a community outreach initiative which was active until COVID ended the program, said she is delighted to hear that changes are being made. “I have been feeling totally disconnected as a VE, as though I no longer have a place at Tanglewood, after spending summers involved there since my teens,” she said. “Although VEs were invited to programs such as the Welcome Back and the end of season reception, I had no reason to attend. Anything that reconnects us, keeps us in the loop, and provides opportunities for us to engage with our colleagues and friends is going to be good,” said Carole.

To that point, the BSAV has sent out a short survey to all VEs across the country and urges everyone to take just a few minutes to fill it out and send it back. The survey focuses on what individuals who have become part of the VE organization have liked about it and what they feel is missing.

“We have a real commitment to listen and learn from the survey and the suggestions that people make. We will implement everything that we can, and initiate lots of communication and active programs to engage VEs to make it an interesting and rewarding experience for them,” said Art.

Art comes to the VE project lead position with great credentials. For many years he was a corporate executive working in consumer product management. He has been a member-director of the Executive Forum, a prestigious volunteer organization of C-Suite level professionals devoted to helping senior executives in transition. He has also been a co-chair of New Horizons, another organization within the Executive Forum whose mission is to help executives who are semi or fully retired find worthwhile opportunities. This experience is very similar to our VE program. Art is an expert in audio and sound technology, a hobby he has had since he was a teenager. Art was also on the Board of the Stamford Symphony, a fine regional orchestra in Southwestern Connecticut. Needless to say, he loves music.

To receive a copy of the VE survey, or if you have any ideas or questions about the VE program, please contact Art at art@ahb33.com