The Cleveland Orchestra is grateful to the volunteer committees who generously lend their support every year. Members of these committees are invited to special, behind-the-scenes events throughout the year. Learn more below or visit our Special Events page for information on specific volunteer appreciation events.

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Volunteer Opportunities

The Cleveland Orchestra welcomes energetic, enthusiastic volunteers (age 18 and older) to serve as tour guides and ushers at Severance throughout each concert season. We strive to provide unparalleled customer service to every guest by ensuring their satisfaction, comfort, and safety during all events.

Ushers greet guests, help them to find their seats, and distribute programs. In addition, our ushers are available throughout performances to direct audience members to Severance amenities, answer questions, and ensure an engaging, enjoyable, and safe experience for all.

Tour guides conduct public and private tours through Severance, sharing historical information with guests about The Cleveland Orchestra and its celebrated Jack, Joseph, and Morton Mandel Concert Hall.

Across each concert season, Severance volunteers are asked to serve at a minimum of 15 performances and/or events. They’re also required to attend several training and orientation sessions throughout the year. Volunteering should be regarded as a part-time job, and Severance ushers and tour guides are expected to meet the same high standards of reliability, professionalism, and commitment as The Cleveland Orchestra’s staff.

In return, volunteers will have a singular opportunity to experience performances by the acclaimed Cleveland Orchestra in one of the world’s finest concert halls.

Volunteer Benefits

Friends of The Cleveland Orchestra Membership Benefits, 2021-22:

  • Invitation to all volunteer events: Alice B. Weeks Scholarship, Gourmet Matinee Series, Gourmet Matinee on the Road, Meet the Artist Series, and additional Orchestra programs throughout Northeast Ohio
  • Recognition as an Ambassador for The Cleveland Orchestra
  • Access to partner with Cleveland Orchestra staff on advocacy work
  • Invitation for you and a guest to attend 2 open rehearsals at the Mandel Concert Hall.
  • Complimentary digital concert series “In Focus” on the Adella app. Volunteer to be registered as a paid committee member ($15 monthly subscription fee is waived for 1 year) Adella Help Line: adellahelp@clevelandorchestra.com
  • Invitation to Cleveland Orchestra events, i.e. Annual Meeting, Annual Volunteer Appreciation Event, Town Hall Series (these events are subject to change)
  • Invitation to Cleveland Orchestra special events: Summer Soirée, Gala, Holiday Fundraiser
  • Opportunity to volunteer at the Blossom Friends Information Center for Cleveland Orchestra concerts, including complimentary lawn ticket(s)
  • 15% discount on Franz Welser-Möst’s book From Silence: Finding Calm in a Dissonant World when purchased at the Cleveland Orchestra store
  • Invitation to join book clubs throughout the season, organized by volunteers
  • Early access to special events, volunteer opportunities and behind the scenes previews

Volunteer Committees

Friends of The Cleveland Orchestra

Founded as the Women’s Committee of The Cleveland Orchestra in 1921, Friends of The Cleveland Orchestra today welcomes all music lovers to support the Orchestra through engaging fundraising events, volunteer services, and music education activities. Please direct membership inquiries to Elisabeth Plax.

Friends of The Cleveland Orchestra Leadership:
  • Jean Sarlson, President
  • Elisabeth Plax, First Vice President
  • Laurel Kest, Second Vice President
  • Cheryl Keys, Recording Secretary
  • Joel Kay, Corresponding Secretary
  • Patricia Sommer, Treasurer

Blossom Friends of The Cleveland Orchestra

Blossom Friends of The Cleveland Orchestra, established in 1968, is dedicated to promoting and sustaining The Cleveland Orchestra at its summer home, Blossom Music Center. Members plan fundraising events in Summit County, offer volunteer services at Blossom, and much more. Please direct membership inquiries to Connie Van Gilder.

Friends of The Cleveland Orchestra Leadership:
  • Sue Kenney, Co-President
  • Peggy Krinsky, Co-President
  • Kaye Lowe, Co-President
  • Mary Walker Sprunt, Recording Secretary
  • Lorry Szabo, Corresponding Secretary

Other Opportunities

In addition to the groups mentioned above, trustees and other community members support the Orchestra as Fundraising Volunteers for annual operating and endowment gifts from individuals, foundations, and corporations.