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.
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