Vermont Symphony Orchestra

Kathy Manning

Symphony orchestras make the world a more beautiful place. I grew up with classical music and know how joyful it is to experience – particularly live. Music fills ones soul. When I sit in the Flynn Theater and listen to this wonderful orchestra play, I become more hopeful and peaceful.

Art, both performing and otherwise, inspires us to be more creative and innovative. It helps us “see” things that we never could have imagined. I’ve had the opportunity to read messages from school children after they experienced VSO musicians in their schools. Talk about joy! Every Vermonter should experience that joy and “see” view a world that they previously hadn’t imagined. 

One of the best parts of volunteering for the VSO is the amazing staff. I’ve met various people over the years who work in the Symphony office. To a person, they have been and are dedicated to the Symphony’s success. The staff doesn’t make a lot of money but that doesn’t stop them from working incredibly hard. The VSO audience would be impressed to realize how few staff members produce the number and range of events held. These are talented, amazing, and dedicated folks.

I concluded years ago that orchestras cannot exist without the support of their communities. I have long believed that It Takes a Village to Support a Symphony. If I could, I would encourage Vermonters to over-subscribe to the Symphony so the seats at the Flynn are filled for every performance. I would encourage those with more financial resources than I have to give generously to this wonderful orchestra that adds so much to Vermont. I donate what I can to the VSO but I have more time than money so have given my time and skills to the Symphony since the 1990s. The VSO is a state orchestra with an ambitious mission. Ticket sales can’t support all the educational outreach programs and performances. I’ve subscribed to the Symphony since I moved out here 25 years ago (even when I’m out of the country for the performances) and cannot imagine a Vermont without the joyful music they produce.

I was advised years ago that those of us who are educated or in any way fortunate have a special obligation to give back. I feel better about myself when I dedicate my skills and talents to something larger than myself. Over my 25 years of living in Burlington, I’ve volunteered with various non-profits in Burlington but I return over and over again to the VSO. VSO staff members are incredibly appreciative of my efforts, give me tasks which make a difference to their smooth operation, and give me the opportunity to contribute to my community in a meaningful way. I plan to keep volunteering there until I cannot climb the stairs to the third floor suite of offices!