The mission of the Symphony League of Fort Worth, Inc. is to cultivate, promote, support and develop the love of music for children and adults alike, and to make positive contributions to our community.
A Historical Sketch
The Symphony League of Fort Worth was organized as a volunteer support group for the Fort Worth Symphony Orchestra in 1957, the same year the Symphony Orchestra reorganized and became a permanent organization. Those early years were formative for the League as members became active volunteers for the Orchestra in many capacities.
With the growth of the Orchestra, additional office staff was needed and a Symphony League Office Staff Committee was formed to provide volunteers. The League helped conduct the Season Ticket Renewal Campaign, held in the front window of the former Monnig’s downtown store. The League and Orchestra joined to provide children’s concerts performed by the Orchestra. In later years, the League prepared students for the concerts through its Docent Program, which has expanded to include both League and Orchestra members visiting the elementary schools of Fort Worth to teach the children about symphonic music and a symphony orchestra. A school contest, “I Came, I Saw, I Heard,” was held after the children attended the concerts and participants were awarded prizes. This program now continues as the Mercedes Bass Music is Magic Awards. Annually, the A.L.I.C.E. Award, (A Loving Interest in Children’s Education) named after League Honorary Life Member Alice Hart, is given to the most outstanding education docent. Our prize-winning docent program has now become one of the most sought-after volunteer educational music programs in Fort Worth.
In order to maintain the quality of the education programs, fund-raising had to become an integral part of the League’s activities. These activities ranged from Kleenex sales to cooking schools, fashion shows and raffles with garage sales in between. The annual Helen Corbitt Cooking School held at Neiman Marcus Hedges Restaurant raised $25,000 for the League. The last cooking class was held in 1976. The need for an even bigger fund-raiser was apparent and in 1969, the first Oktoberfest was held at the old T&P Station with major financial help from the Ben E. Keith Company. After holding Oktoberfest at Will Rogers in the Roundup Inn, it was then moved to the Convention Center where it remained until its discontinuation in 2000. Presently the League’s fund-raising events are the TriArts Celebration and The Painted Violins Project.
The Symphony League of Fort Worth is associated with the League of American Orchestras (LAO), Association of Major Symphony Orchestra Volunteers (AMSOV), and Texas Association for Symphony Orchestras (TASO). Delegates are sent to these annual conventions. The League continues to bring honor to our membership by hosting TASO, providing volunteers for TASO’s Youth Music Competition and winning awards and honors at the special competitions held at TASO.
Thousands of volunteer hours and lasting friendships make up the rich heritage that is the foundation for the success of the Symphony League. We continue to rise to all occasions, creating one of the most valued volunteer organizations in Fort Worth.
A more detailed history can be found in Norwood Dixon’s “Connections & Serendipity”, Vols. I & II.