About the Guild


The Guild is a volunteer organization comprised of men and women who enthusiastically support the operation of the Utah Symphony Orchestra financially, socially, and educationally. Thousands of hours of work go into the Guild's activities, all of which are managed and staffed by volunteers. Currently the Guild's financial contributions to the Symphony come primarily from the Symphony Gala, the Symphony Gift Shop and other Fundraisers. During the 2015-2016 year (September 1, 2015 to August 31, 2016) these projects raised approximately $35,000. Last year, through the Fifth-Grade Docent Concerts, over 23,000 fifth graders in Utah attended concerts at Abravanel Hall. Approximately one hundred docents visit the classrooms before the concerts helping to introduce the students to the wonderful world of classical music through specially designed presentation materials. The Music Out Reach is a program in which disadvantaged youth receive free music lessons on stringed instruments from volunteer music teachers. The Symphony Gift Shop is "open for business" at every Symphony concert. All profits from the gift shop go to support the Utah Symphony. Guild members and other volunteers staff the gift shop during concerts. The shop generated $15,000.00 of the Guild's donation to the Symphony in 2016. The Utah Symphony Youth Guild committee is dedicated to the encouragement and support of young musicians. The committee helps plan and supervise Youth Guild activities such as Master Classes, hosts a reception following the Salute to Youth concert and helps with the Youth Guild Recital Competition, which provides cash and performance awards to the young musicians. The young Youth Guild members staff the coat check booths and perform in the lobby prior to concerts and at Symphony Guild functions. Guild members arrange for and attend a Membership Tea and 8 social events during the year featuring programs of educational and musical interest. The Guild also publishes a newsletter and a membership directory. Throughout the year Guild members help with the Season Ticket Renewal campaign and host a luncheon between rehearsal times for the orchestra each spring at which orchestra members and Guild members enjoy socializing together. They volunteer many additional hours to Symphony Guild activities. The Symphony Guild participates in the Salt Lake Council of Women and the Women's Legislative Council. On a national level, Guild officers attend the conventions of the American Symphony Orchestra League and the Association of Major Symphony Orchestra Volunteers. (AMSOV) Guild representatives have made presentations for both organizations. Members are invited to participate in any Guild activity.

Guild Beginnings

In  1941,  a  group  of  interested  women  formed  the  Women’s  Symphony  Committee.  They  met  in  each other’s homes for music study, gave parties and raised money for the orchestra.Seven  years  later,  when  Maurice  Abravanel  arrived  in  Utah  in  1947,  these  same  women  formed  a Women’s Division to continue their support of the Symphony.The  Utah  Symphony  Women’s  Guild  was  not  organized  until  1953,  when  Margaret  Beecher,  who  had been  at  a  meeting  of  the  Denver  Symphony  Women’s  Guild,  met  with  Lucy  Abravanel,  Becky  Almond and  others  to  form  a  guild  in  Utah.  They  worked  in  the  ticket  office,  had  luncheons  for  visiting  artists and  continued  to  organize  fund-raising  activities.  The  money  was  invested,  and  with  the  profit,  a  set  of chimes was purchased which was given to the orchestra from the Women’s Symphony Guild.The  first  Membership  Tea  was  held  in  1954.  Dues  were  $3.00  and  two  hundred  and  seventy  women joined.  The  first  Symphony  Ball  was  held  in  November  1958,  in  the  Hotel  Utah  Motor  Lodge,  featuring Paul  Whiteman.  Tickets  were  $25.00  per  couple.  Over  the  years,  guild  functions  included  soirees, receptions and Progress Fund Drives.This  was  the  beginning  of  many  interesting  and  varied  experiences  for  hundreds  of  guild  members  who gave  their  time,  money  and  hard  work  to  promote  the  growth  of  The  Utah  Symphony.  New  programs were  added  such  as  the  docent  program  in  the  schools,  a  Symphony  Store,  a  newsletter,  a  directory  and a  Youth  Guild  sponsoring  competition.  The  name  was  modified  to  the  Utah  Symphony  Guild,  and  the Symphony  Ball  became  an  annual  fund-raising  event.  Male  membership  was  encouraged,  the  Board increased  to  over  40,  and  the  operating  budget  grew  to  nearly  $150,000  annually  –  all  beginning  with  a handful of volunteers who donated everything from stamps to cookies