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DSOL Past President Lisa Laughlin with the young musicians of Suzuki Strings of Dallas

The Dallas Symphony Orchestra League is one of six volunteer organizations chosen by The Volunteer Council of the League of American Orchestras to receive the coveted Gold Award of Excellence for its Southern Savour Supper Club held at the magnificent estate home of Amanda and Brint Ryan. The Dallas Symphony Orchestra League’s project was a garden party fundraiser bringing together friends and business leaders for an evening with a supper club style gracious and beautiful dinner served family style. Chef Dean Fearing was there to oversee the superb southern classic menu provided by his namesake Fearing’s. Sherwood Wagner served as the Honorary Chair. The event was chaired by Bettina Hennessy co-chaired by Renee’ Querbes Farren

The evening included both a live and silent auction, a wine pull and private musical performances by Suzuki Strings of Dallas and the One O’Clock Lab Band from University of North Texas. The dress was garden party chic, with white and seersucker suits, hats and canes. A Cat on a Hot Tin Roof Award – Best Dressed Big Daddy was awarded. 

The Volunteer Council’s annual award program recognizes outstanding projects and programs done by volunteer associations from around the country that help ensure the success of their orchestras. The Gold Award of Excellence recognizes best-in-class projects that have had a significant impact. This is the 43rd year of the award, which was originally called the Gold Book as the winning projects were compiled in an actual book. Winning projects were selected by Council members based upon originality, volunteer involvement, adaptability by other volunteer organizations, and the overall success of the project in meeting its stated goals. 

“The members of the Dallas Symphony Orchestra League are dedicated to supporting the education and outreach initiatives of the Dallas Symphony,” said DSOL President Kim Brannon. “The inspiration and implementation of Southern Savour Supper Club is a testament to that passion and desire to serve others in our community. The Chairmen shared their joy with all who attended that evening as they hosted an event for the ages!” 

Dallas Symphony Orchestra League will receive its award at the League’s National Conference in Minneapolis, June 10-12, 2020.  During a session for fellow volunteers at Conference the Dallas Symphony Orchestra League representative Lisa Loy Laughlin, DSOL past president, will present their winning project. 

“The League’s Volunteer Council knows firsthand the rewards and challenges of planning and executing volunteer projects. Our goal is to inspire and educate volunteers by acknowledging and sharing the best, most innovative volunteer-driven projects from across the country in categories including: Audience Development/Community Engagement, Communication/Technology, Education, Leadership/Organizational Structure, Membership, Fundraising, and Service Projects,” said Terry Ann White, president of the Volunteer Council and a member of the Amarillo Symphony Guild. 

In addition to the Gold Award of Excellence, the Council presents Spotlight Awards, given for projects that have contributed to the success of an overall initiative or for a noteworthy tactic or activity, and the Classic Award, which acknowledges a longstanding project that has sustained excellence and delivered value over decades. Along with six Gold Awards of Excellence, there were eight Spotlight Awards and one Classic Award chosen this year. 

About the Volunteer Council of the League of American Orchestras
The Volunteer Council is an organization of recognized volunteer leaders throughout the United States and Canada who have demonstrated outstanding support for their symphony orchestras. Our Council members represent nineteen volunteer associations affiliated with orchestras from coast to coast and across the entire spectrum of budget tiers.


About the League of American Orchestras
The Leagueleads, supports, and champions America’s orchestras and the vitality of the music they perform. Its diverse membership of more than 2,000 organizations and individuals across North America runs the gamut from world-renowned orchestras to community groups, from summer festivals to student and youth ensembles, from conservatories to libraries, from businesses serving orchestras to individuals who love symphonic music. The only national organization dedicated solely to the orchestral experience, the League is a nexus of knowledge and innovation, advocacy, and leadership advancement. Its conferences and events, award-winning Symphony magazine, website, and other publications inform people around the world about orchestral activity and developments. Founded in 1942 and chartered by Congress in 1962, the League links a national network of thousands of instrumentalists, conductors, managers and administrators, board members, volunteers, and business partners. Visit

Photos by Chuck Clark



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