Let’s go behind the scenes of a WomenSing concert. On stage, you see and hear 50 singers of WomenSing, their masterful maestro and superb accompanist, performing important new and unusual music as well as golden treasures from the past. Behind the scenes, an army of volunteers has been working hard for months to create these glorious musical moments and to sustain the organization that makes them possible. Virtually, all these volunteers are members of the chorus although partners and children are also drafted to the cause and a Board of Directors oversees the whole operation. WomenSing accomplishes with dedicated volunteers what most nonprofits require paid staff to do!
Auction Chair Amy Bruhmuller and Operations Co-Chair Patty Murray
Consider the responsibilities of WomenSing’s awesome committees. They produce the Annual Gala and Silent Auction, market the concerts, and make sure that the Youth Inspiring Youth – Commissioning Emerging Composersproject is an amazing success year after year. Chorus members with special talents are recruited too. They maintain the database, send out the newsletter, maintain the website, design beautiful event invitations, write grant proposals to foundations, host fabulous events in their homes, solicit for silent auction items. It’s an unending list.
Six members of the chorus serve on the nine-member Board of Directors. This is a hands-on board. Of course, they make policy decisions and approve the annual budget. That’s required by law. But individually, they do many things not required by law. Take Board Chair Ann Dzuna whose vast activities on behalf of WomenSing are described elsewhere in this newsletter. She sells tickets at concerts, arranges food for a chorus activity, accompanies the chorus on tour and handles logistics, troubleshoots, solves problems and yes – asks major donors for contributions to sustain vital WomenSing operations.
Volunteers Marilyn Leavitt (Spotlight feature writer and front of house worker) and Barbara Beck (Recruiting Chair)
A high degree of “owner” involvement means that chorus members have a huge personal stake in the artistic success of their organization. They work hard artistically to make sure the chorus maintains its well-deserved reputation for vibrant sound and adventurous repertoire. They also do not shrink from low-profile, but essential, assignments like stuffing envelopes and cleaning up after activities. Not only do they work for the enterprise, they invest in the enterprise. Chorus members pay monthly dues and cover the cost of their sheet music, retreats and group training.
Auction volunteers Ceri Freedman and Ruth Sweet
Each member pays her own expenses for tours like the trip to Missoula, Montana this summer where the chorus has been specially invited to perform at the Ninth International Choral Festival. When it comes to organizational fundraising, chorus members make individual contributions themselves, write personal notes on fundraising letters, ask their friends for support, and more. It can be a lot of work, but it’s also a labor of love!