DPO volunteers celebrate 60 years

Anniversary lawn party slated next weekend

The Dayton Philharmonic Volunteer Association, the fundraising support organization for the Dayton Philharmonic Orchestra, will celebrate its 60th anniversary with a barbecue bash Saturday, August 25 at the Rike Estate, 2765 Ridgeway Road, Dayton.

Since 1952, the DPVA has been committed to guaranteeing the DPO’s programming and educational components remain viable, enriching outlets within Dayton’s arts community. Proceeds from the bash will go toward the DPO, DPO music education programs, DPO youth music scholarships, and financial aid for DPO Youth Orchestra members.

Despite a troubled economic climate, the group raised nearly $110,000 last year at its popular, bi-annual Show House event (a three-week open house involving landscapers, interior designers, special speakers and DPO Youth Orchestra). Organizers hope Saturday’s gathering is equally appealing and lucrative.

“It’s going to be a very casual, fun evening,” said DPVA president Leta Fairbank. “This bash is not just for our group, but the entire community. Music is a major part of people’s lives, especially children, and since the arts have been shoved in the background as far as funding in general, it’s important to bring funds about in a fun way. In an organization such as ours it’s a lot of work, but if you enjoy what you’re doing it makes it so much easier and it shows in the result.”

“The fundraising efforts the DPVA provides to the education programs is absolutely essential,” added DPVA education chairperson Marcia Wood. “With so many school districts struggling with budgets, it is critical that we provide music education for the students (since) music class instruction is usually on the budget chopping block. Our volunteers are in the schools five days a week to share our love of music in various programs. Our newest project is called ‘Q the Music,’ based on the very successful El Sistema program in Venezuela. ‘Q the Music,’ an after-school program, will provide string instruction to third-grade students at Ruskin Elementary School in Dayton beginning in September. It is different from traditional music education because it focuses on group achievement, teamwork and developing the student as a future citizen as well as a musician.”

Consisting of over 340 members, the DPVA recently broadened its roster. Men have joined the female-driven organization, but organizers would like to be more demographically progressive.

“It takes many members to pull off a major undertaking such as our Show House and we are constantly striving to increase our membership either as participating or supporting members,” said DPVA membership chairperson Dawn Ross. “Whether providing docents in Miami Valley schools or collecting instruments to refurbish and donate to schools, the DPVA is vital to the arts community and membership is critical to our success. More members are always needed with participation and/or monetary support.”

The bash, featuring barbecue from Tipp City’s Hickory River Smokehouse, costs $20, but is free for anyone wishing to join DPVA, which welcomes the DPO’s new artistic merge with the Dayton Ballet and Dayton Opera as the Dayton Performing Arts Alliance. Fairbank anticipates a successful celebration that not only reiterates the inherent value of the organization but the goodwill of its members.

“This dedicated organization started with a very small group of women and it has continued to grow and evolve with the times,” she said. “My complete satisfaction comes from volunteering, knowing in some way I have helped encourage music for children and adults. I’ve lived in other cities and have done a lot of volunteer work in my life, but I’ve never been involved with a group that’s as enthusiastic as DPVA.”

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