Symphony Notes, June Newsletter for the Illinois Symphony Guild of Bloomington-Normal

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Just a reminder, the Illinois Symphony Guild’s annual meeting is at Bloomington Country Club at 11:30 on June 14th. Invitations were mailed last month. This is an important meeting where we recognize outgoing board members, vote in new board members, and enjoy the talents of our scholarship winners. Also, we enjoy a wonderful lunch and friendship with our fellow Guild members. Please plan to attend.

JUNE 17, 2023, 10 am – 4:00 pm

Mark your calendars for June 17th and enjoy a day of touring fabulous kitchens throughout the Bloomington and Normal communities. This year there are six stops on the tour featuring five indoor and three outdoor kitchens. Each kitchen has a House Captain who coordinates with the homeowner and arranges for helpers on the day of the tour. Our thanks to Joan Vanden Eynden, Valerie Wyatt and Deena Coffman, Cathy Wentworth, Laurie Burke, Paula Pratt, Pam Janssen, Betty Ann Fisher, and Lynda Lane for serving as House Captains. We hope ISO Guild members will volunteer an hour or two when the Captains call for volunteers. Captains will draw from the list of members who are on the volunteer list.

Each year, the Lavender & Lemons committee puts together gift baskets of donated items which will be part of a drawing at the end of the day on June 17th. All ticket holders will be eligible to win when they drop their ticket into a basket at their last stop. If any Guild member would like to donate something for these baskets - wine, olive oil, lotion, soap, kitchen items, food items (just a few ideas), the team would be most appreciative. The baskets will be on display at several of the kitchens. 

The new and remodeled kitchens on the tour feature a wide variety of styles, sizes and budgets. Guests will be charmed by the amazing outdoor kitchens as well. 

Tickets will be available for purchase from any Guild Board Member and at the following locations: Normal; The Garlic Press, OhmFit, Bloomington; Casey’s Garden Center, Growing Grounds, Wendell Niepagen Greenhouse, AB Hatchery, and Hy-Vee Customer Service desk. 

Please feel free to contact co-chairs Peggy Hundley at or Lynda Lane at for more information.

Annual Report
Illinois Symphony Orchestra Guild of Bloomington-Normal
June 14, 2023

As always, the ISO Guild of Bloomington-Normal has had a busy year of hosting receptions and events, fundraising, and providing for the Bloomington-Normal Community through work at the Midwest Food Bank and giving out our annual scholarships.

  • We continued our Tea and Togs event at Bloomington Country Club after a 2-year hiatus attributed to Covid. Numbers were down but, fun was had by all.
  • The Gala in November, “30 Years of Making Waves” made $65,000. It was held at Doubletree where Jacobsen Woollen entertained attendees and “stole the show”. Our first ever “Grab and Go” table was a big success with $1400 made from the donated gift cards.
  • During the fall, we also initiated our first-ever “Celebrity Conductor Challenge”. John Carter, of Jack Lewis Jewelers, won the competition which raised $6,313.80. I believe we will be having this again in the fall of 2023. Thank you, Elaine Cousins and Peggy Hundley for organizing this.
  • We continued holding scholarship auditions for students of McLean County and provided funds for music lessons to 3 winners of our audition. Thank you judges and Marilyn Mertz for your time and attention to detail.
  • Our Corresponding Secretary sent out numerous cards- get-well wishes, sympathy and an assortment of uplifting and encouraging notes. Thank you Joy Szmaj.
  • Our members continued to be a presence in the community by volunteering at Midwest Food Bank, helping to bag food items to be
  • distributed to people in need throughout the Midwest and beyond. Thank you, Lynda Lane for organizing this.
  • We helped host the Concert Around Town at Moses Montefiore Temple. Thank you, Fran Brandau and Pam Janssen.
  • Our Children’s Concert was well attended with the theme this year as “Paris”. Children were delighted to watch our conductor, Jacobsen Woollen, fight a duel on stage, sing in French and have fun with the various instruments. What a wonderful way to start a new generation’s interest in the symphony!
  • We have discussed a revised membership tier system. Our new Membership Vice President, Deena Coffman, researched, worked and
  • presented many options to the board before we finally voted a new system into place. The new tiers are; $25 student member, $50 single supporter, $100 single sustaining member- receiving a voucher for 1 concert chat meal, and $150 family sustaining member-also receiving a concert chat voucher.
  • We contributed over $25,000 to the ISO from fundraisers put together by board members and supported by our symphony family and guild members.

 All this went on during our 22-23 year, during which our setting and times for concerts changed from Bloomington Performing Arts Center on Friday nights to ISU Center for Performing Arts on Saturday night. This change also changed our regular after concert receptions. We tried to continue this tradition but, with changing times and venue it became impossible. Anita Carney faithfully wrote
our monthly newsletter which was distributed to staff and members, giving an up-to-date calendar of our events and report of new members.

As we finish our year, we still have our Annual Meeting on June 14 where 3 new board members will be on the ballot, Lisa Dunn, Paula Pratt, and Laurie Burke. Most importantly, I will be retiring as president and Peggy Hundley will be taking over. We will see the retirement of board members Hansa Jaggi and Joan Vanden Eynden. And, of course, we have the “Lavender and Lemons; A
Tour of Kitchens and More” June 17.

For me, it has been a busy 4 years. We continued through Covid-19 with Zoom meetings, meetings in parks and an online election. Reinventing our traditions to fit into a pandemic lifestyle was quite a learning experience. I wrote board reports, sent out agendas and minutes, went to as many committee meetings as possible, tried to stay aware of new ideas being discussed all the time, and helped get our first ever electronic board displayed for a guild event.

As a group, we contributed our time, talent and money to help provide symphonic music to our community but, also tried to have fun and make more friends for the ISO. Fundraising, friend-raising and fun were really my passions.

Thank you all for your support, calls, letters and friendship. The guild will continue on with wonderful fundraisers and events to promote the Illinois Symphony Orchestra, helping to maintain it for future generations.

Cathy Wentworth
President, Illinois Symphony Orchestra Guild of Bloomington-Normal

Once again the ISO Guild will volunteer at the Midwest Food Bank. The dates are June 20, August 29, and October 24 - Our work time is from 1 - 3 p.m. Please arrive 10 minutes before the start time in order to sign in and learn about the assignment for the day. No matter the season, volunteers must wear close-toed shoes. If other Guild members wish to join the group, please let
Lynda Lane know by emailing or calling 309-585-1036. There is a registration requirement on the Food Bank’s website. Please consider this opportunity to show B/N what a great organization The Illinois Symphony Guild is!


  • June 14th, Annual Guild Meeting at Bloomington Country Club. Invitations were mailed to all Guild members.
  • Saturday, June 17th, Lavender and Lemons Kitchen Tour. See above for more details.
  • Sunday, September 10th, Illinois Symphony Guild Gala, held at Illinois State University. More details to come.

If you have any questions regarding this newsletter, please contact Anita Carney at

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