Friends Committee

History and Purpose

May 1953 marked the beginning of the Amherst Symphony Orchestra Women’s Committee (in May 2003 the name was changed to Friends Committee of the ASO). Leah Olson, the founder and first president, started the Women’s Committee as a support group to the then six year old Amherst Symphony. From the beginning, the committee’s purpose has been to support the orchestra by publicizing its concerts, by participating in fund-raising, and by providing hospitality for the musicians, the Association Board and the community.

Membership

Membership is open to anyone interested in supporting the work of the Friends Committee. Dues are $25 per concert season.To make application for membership down load and print out our PDF application form.
Mail to:
Friends Committee Membership
P.O. Box 1083, Williamsville
NY 14231-1083


Hospitality

One of the most important commitments to the orchestra is hospitality. Since 1974, an annual dinner has been served to the orchestra members, the Association Board, and the Friends Committee Executive Board. Refreshments are provided for the orchestra members at two Monday night rehearsals during the season. On the day of the concert, between the warm-up rehearsal and the performance, light supper, drinks and dessert are served to the orchestra members. Receptions following the concerts are held to honor the conductor and the soloists.


Fund-raising

Plant Sale: A plant sale is held from May through October. Coupons are sold at the spring concert and by members to be redeemed at Mischler’s Florists.

Concert Preview Luncheons

The Friends Committee luncheon offers four preview luncheons for members, family, friends and guests which are held the week preceding each concert. These previews are generally held in a local restaurant or country club and feature the guest artist and our conductor in a short program.


Scholarships

Since 1986 The Friends (Women’s) Committee has offered a $500 scholarship yearly to a local high school senior entering college with the intent of majoring or double majoring in music. In 1990 the Williamsville Rotary Club matched these funds to bring the award to $1,000. In 2013 the amount is increased to $1,500. A portion of each member’s dues applies to the scholarship. The scholarship audition is held in late February or early March. Our most recent winners are: 2015 - Mandela Namaste, 2014 - Duo Xu, 2013 - Jonathan Young, 2012 - Leonard Ranallo, 2010 - Jilene vanOpdorp, 2009 - Derek Voigt, 2008 - Alina Jeon, 2007 - Alexander Boissonnault, 2006 - Christopher Rogerson, 2005 - David Adamczyk, 2004 - Tea Prokes, 2003 - Matthew Schwartz and 2002 - Lauren Zang. For information, write to Friends Scholarship Committee, P.O. Box 1083, Williamsville, NY 14231-1083; contact your school music teacher, or download and print out Requirements Form and Application Form. The 2016 scholarship auditions TBA.


Download Application Forms Here
APPLICATION FORM
REQUIREMENTS FORM

Friends Committe Scholarship Winners

  • 2007 - Andrew Boissonnault    |    2008 - Alina Jeon
  • 2009 - Derek Voigt    |    2010 - Jilene vanOpdorp
  • 2011 - Sarah Lewandowski    |    2012 - Leonard Ranallo
  • 2013 - Jonathan Young    |    2014 - Duo Xo
  • 2015 - Mandela Namaste    |    2016 - Ian Shaw

Friends Committe Members

Executive Board 2015-2016

  • President   Carolyn Dole
  • President-Elect    Sharon Wall
  • 1st V-P (Membership)   Martha Rasmussen
  • 2nd V-P (Program)    OPEN
  • 3rd V-P (Hospitality)     OPEN
  • Recording Secretary     Joan Heine
  • Corresponding Secretary     John Sedgwick
  • Treasurer     Sharon Wall
  • Historian/Photographer    Susan Arrigo

Past Presidents (Womens Committee)

  • 1953-56 Leah Olson*
  • 1956-58 Carol Juette
  • 1958-60 Eleanor Buschman*
  • 1960-62 Jane Roberts*
  • 1962-64 Bernice Baker
  • 1964-66 Gladys Burnham*
  • 1966-68 Celesta Serio*
  • 1968-70 Ruth Starr*
  • 1970-72 Helen Faxlanger*
  • 1972-74 Pearl Thonpkins*
  • 1974-76 Mary Hemink*
  • 1976-78 Celesta Serio*
  • 1978-80 Carolyn Day
  • 1980-82 Glynda Taylor*
  • 1882-84 Joan Fishburn
  • 1984-86 Marion Fay
  • 1986-88 Priscilla Sedgwick
  • 1988-90 Ruth McDade*
  • 1990-92 Donna Steinberg
  • 1992-94 Ernestin Aberle
  • 1994-96 Glynda Taylor*
  • 1996-98 Jean Wood
  • 1998-99 Peg Impey
  • 1999-2001 Audrey Hurd
  • 2001-03 Kathryn Shorey
  • * Deceased


Directors 2016-2018

  • Joan Davern
  • Kathy Garrison
  • Carol Weise

Directors 2016-2017

  • Carolyn Day
  • Kathy Garrison
  • Priscilla Sedgwick
  • Mary Wandling

Past Presidents (Friends Committee)

  • 2003-04 Kathryn Shorey
  • 2004-07 Martha Thomas
  • 2007-10 Nancy Wallace