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Madison Symphony Orchestra League

The organization began as the Women’s Committee of the Madison Civic Music Association in June 7, 1956 when founders Mrs. Helen Marling Supernaw and Mrs. Viola Ward gathered ladies in the home of Mrs. Adolph Bolz to form a group to support the Madison Symphony Orchestra. Based on an idea that they had gleaned while attending an American Symphony Orchestra League convention, the group was by invitation only and limited to 100 women. It wasn’t until twenty years later when president Marian Bolz opened the membership to “anyone desirous of” supporting the MSO. The name was changed to the Madison Symphony Orchestra League as it is known today. In the early years concerts were free, held on Sundays at a local high school and comprised not of professional, paid musicians, but of people in the community who loved making music together. The Women’s Committee provided refreshments at intermission for the orchestra, delivered flowers to performing artists and acted as concert hostesses and greeters. Before the MSO had an Education Director on staff committed volunteers functioned as the education department and designed a docent program to prepare elementary students for attending Fall Youth Concerts. Over the decades the MSOL has raised funds to support the Madison Symphony. Among the creative activities undertaken by the MSOL: - Sharing members’ recipes in two cookbooks: Composition for Cooking and a sequel, Composition for Cooking Opus II; - Turning the LaFollette home in Maple Bluff into the first Symphony Designer Showhouse; more than 14 other homes were decorated and opened to the public to benefit the Symphony; - Modeling the latest fashions at the first Style Show; these Style Shows continued for more than 20 years; - Transporting music lovers to a virtual Vienna at New Year’s Eve Viennese Balls; - Creating Concert on the Green a golf tournament, concert and gourmet picnic now in its 23rd year; - Introducing “Parties of Note,” a series of small, themed parties; - Launching the John DeMain Award for Outstanding Commitment to Music awarded at the Symphony Gala. Although the world has changed greatly since 1956, what hasn’t changed is the League’s commitment to the Symphony’s artistic, financial and educational mission. The connective thread that weaves through the decades is a passion for music, the joy of the friendships and the sense of community that has come from supporting our Symphony.