A Monthly Profile of Orchestra Fans and Family
As is true with so many of The Philadelphia Orchestra’s dedicated volunteers, newly installed President of the Orchestra Volunteer Committees Nancy Galloway got involved at the urging of a friend. Nancy started her own business, Custom Curtains, and one of her first clients was Dottebob Andes, the late, beloved force in Philadelphia charities for 40 years.
“When Dottebob first asked me to become an Orchestra volunteer, I was a widow with a daughter and a business. I had never done anything like this before, and I thought I didn’t have a lot of time for volunteering. But eventually, I got remarried to John Galloway, my daughter graduated from college, and I had more time.
“As soon as I said yes, Dottebob said ‘I know you’ll want to take a leadership role.’ I thought, ‘What have I gotten myself into!’”
Nancy became the chair of a major fundraiser. One volunteer role led to another, until, in 2016, she became vice president of the Volunteer Committees, the stepping-stone to her current post.
Long before she met Dottebob, Nancy had a connection to the Orchestra. A Philadelphian since the age of four, Nancy grew up in a sports family, not a musical one. (Her father, Al Molloy, was a legendary tennis and squash coach at the University of Pennsylvania.) But starting when she was in fourth grade, an uncle who lived in Montreal made regular trips to the Metropolitan Opera in New York, with Nancy in tow. That lit the fires of musical interest.
Later, as a student at Penn, Nancy took a course on the history of the symphony. Soon, she was regularly climbing into the lofty seats in the Academy of Music, to thrill to the sounds of the Fabulous Philadelphians.
Now, as president of the Volunteer Committees, Nancy has lofty goals for her two-year term.
“My focus is going to be on the membership of the volunteers, creating new ones, and keeping us engaged and happy as a community. To that end, we’ve started a brand new online newsletter called Grace Notes. I think it’s the perfect description of volunteers, because ‘grace notes’ add to and embellish the musical score, and that’s what our volunteers do for the Orchestra. We have seven committees that do a million things, but we’ve never really had a descriptive repository of all the things we do.”
In case you were wondering, being a volunteer is about much more than stuffing envelopes.
“The Philadelphia Orchestra volunteers are unique in the orchestral world. Our mission statement says we fundraise, we educate, we promote symphonic music in collaboration with our musicians and staff, both in the concert hall and in the wider community. I think we’re unique in that respect.”
The best parts about being a volunteer? “It means you are intimately involved in one of the cornerstones of the Philadelphia cultural community. There’s a lot of satisfaction in that. “The Orchestra also does so much outreach to underserved communities in our area. I’m mission-driven, and I like that about the Orchestra.
“The other thing is, when you’re a volunteer, you get to meet the most amazing people. We have over 350 volunteers. I would never have met these people if it weren’t for the Orchestra community.
“When Dottebob asked me to become a volunteer it was the best thing I ever did. She said it had meant so much in her life, ‘and I really think it will in yours, too.’ At the time I wasn’t sure, but it really has. I’m really really glad I did this!”
Photo by Alan Kolc