Jackson Symphony Guild

Jackson Symphony Guild

The Jackson Symphony Guild functions exclusively for the benefit of the Jackson Symphony Orchestra to assist support and further the presence of music in the community.

Each year the Jackson Symphony Guild works diligently to raise funds to support the Jackson Symphony Orchestra. The 2018-2019 Guild donation to JSO was $100,000. These funds represent 9% of the JSO fiscal budget and are critical to the success of the Orchestra. Funds raised through the annual Holiday Ball and Jazz Night, jewelry sales, and from Guild membership dues are used by the JSO to sustain general operations and they play a vital role in furthering the JSO commitment to community youth and young musicians.

Guild funds provide substantial scholarship monies for Jackson-area students who wish to attend Michigan music camps. Annually, $3,000 in Guild funds are also designated to the JSO with the express purpose of supporting the Jackson Youth Symphony. Quite apart from dollars, Guild members have acted as post-concert reception hosts and hostesses, office help, concert volunteers and have served on committees which organize the Holiday Ball.

Music & Memory

music-and-memoryThe Guild is working on raising funds that would help in the purchasing of the devises, headphones and music. For the past two years in August the Jackson Symphony Guild in partnership with the Michigan Theater and Lloyd Ganton Retirement Centers has brought the Jackson community, impactful films that highlight the positive effects music has on those suffering from Alzheimer’s and related dementias. Dan Cohen, founder of the nonprofit organization Music & Memory, has led the fight against a broken healthcare system to demonstrate music’s ability to combat memory loss and restore a deep sense of self to those suffering from it.

In the past year the Jackson Symphony Guild has had two new community partners join them in this wonderful project. The Jackson District Library filed for and received a grant that has enabled them to hire a social worker to launch the pilot program in which the ipod units are being used in Lloyd Ganton Retirement Centers. And the Jackson Symphony Guild has received a grant from the Great Lakes Hospice Foundation to further the purchase and distribution of the devices.

More About the Guild

Since its inception, the Guild has grown in stature and strength. It is recognized throughout the state as one of the most effective musical arts support groups in Michigan and is the envy of many orchestras. Every year, peer-review panels from the Michigan Council for Arts and Cultural Affairs comment on the impressive role the Guild plays in supporting the JSO and its programs. The Guild is an organization of which we must all be truly proud!

Thank you to all who have worked to make the Jackson Symphony Guild a vital partner of the JSO and a promoter of the music arts in Jackson!

Mailing Address

PO Box 602
Jackson, MI 49204

Nineteen hundred and forty-nine not only gave birth to the Jackson Symphony Orchestra but the Women’s Division as well. The Jackson Symphony Guild History starts with its early members, under the leadership of Mrs. Earl Spiesberger, founding president, the Guild enthusiastically supported our Jackson Symphony Orchestra with the pledge to increase ticket sales and assist in promotion. Since that time with twelve in attendance at the first meeting, the Guild has grown to encompass over two hundred in membership.

Through the years the Guild has pioneered “after-glows” in Jackson and exemplified hospitality to traveling musicians with state-wide acclaim. Promotion and fundraising includes Holiday Balls, fashion show luncheons, book sales, Pop concerts, Shopping Days, cookbook sales, flea markets and Jazz Nights, to name a few of the more successful Guild projects. With spirited support, the Guild continues to fulfill its mission: To promote the enjoyment of music through increased support of the Jackson Symphony Orchestra.

The inspiring words of our first president remind us today of the important role we play in our support:

“Munching on the memories of the Jackson Symphony Orchestra makes me realize how fortunate so many of us were to have shared its birth pangs and pride in its maturity. There was no fear, no temerity in trying new things to keep it safe and enhance the public’s interest in what we felt was a giant step in the cultural growth of Jackson. Many men and women worked tirelessly to bring it all about. We now have one of the finer Symphony Orchestras in the state. Let us carry on to keep it safe and beautiful.” -Jenny Spiesberger


Vicki McFerran

Angela Machnik
Vice President

Maryanne Fuchs

Laurie Cunningham
Assistant Treasurer

Patrice Vermeulen

Marian Bliznik
Corresponding Secretary

Stafanie Riggs
Past President

Julie Duesing
Past President

Pat Willis
Past President

Board Members

Donna Blake-Simmons

Kim Curtis

Laura Davenport

Danielle Dobies

Paula Durbrow

Christy Ellis

Deb Fairbanks

Heather Fuchs

Joanne Holman

Donna Lake

Kelly Burr-Kofflin

Mary McVicker

Susan Riley

Andrea Stickney

Dea Talmage

Lynda Waldron

Pat Willis

Linda Wray

Directors Emeritus

Ken Baxter*

Pat Beffel*

Joan Boldrey*

Joan Cummings

Nora Dillon

Barb Duke*

Elayne Eberhart

Helen Greene*

Nancy Kyro*

Karen Maas*

Erin Mazur

Karen Moilanen

Joyce Phelps*

Sue Rochester*

*Denotes Lifetime Emeritus Status

Annual Meeting Committee

Committee organizes May annual meeting.

Community Music School Children’s Recitals

Volunteers assist at music school recitals.

Concert Greeters

Friendly greeters from the Guild are needed to warmly welcome Jackson Symphony Orchestra concertgoers as they arrive at Potter Center.

Event Host in Your Home

The JSO sometimes holds a reception for contributors, guest artists and others, or immediately following a concert in the Subscription Series. On these occasions a volunteer host or hostess is needed for the reception.


Explore Guild fundraising opportunities and assist with Holiday Ball solicitations.

Guest Artist Hospitality

Volunteer hosts and hostesses provide lodging, meals and transportation for guest artists and their families as needed.

History Book

Members maintain an ongoing photo history of the Guild and JSO events.

Holiday Ball

This gala dinner-dance, held on the first Saturday in December, is the Guild’s largest fundraiser. It requires dozens of volunteers to plan the event, mail invitations, contact potential contributors, prepare publicity, obtain Silent Auction items, set up auction items, put together a program book and decorate for the event.

Help with Decorating Day of the Holiday Ball

On the morning of the Holiday Ball, meet at the Country Club to help decorate for the Ball.

Spring Fundraising Event

Committee members contact musicians, make arrangements with a restaurant, prepare publicity and sell tickets to this annual event.

JSO Hall – Holiday Decorating

Decorate the JSO Performing Arts Center during the Holiday Season. Post season, remove decorations.

JSO Office Volunteers

Volunteers answer phones, sell tickets and assist with office work.

JSO Season Ticket Drive

Assist with season ticket renewal or serve refreshments during intermission for March concert.

Mailing – Addressing – Labeling

Preparing mass mailings.


Assist in advertising, brochure design and mailings about the Jackson Symphony Guild.


Volunteers with a variety of skills are needed for this very important committee, including people who enjoy preparing printed materials on a computer, talking with potential members, assembling packets of materials, addressing invitations, and helping with mass mailings.


Members of this committee produce the Guild’s “Interlude” newsletter. Volunteers who enjoy writing, taking photographs or designing page layouts on a computer are needed for this committee.

Volunteer at Large

Just want to be called when a need arises? This is for you!

2018 – Stefanie Riggs

2016 – Pat Willis

2015 – Ken Baxter

2014 – Joan Cummings

2013 – Donna Lake

2012 – Mary McVicker

2011 – Barbara Duke

2008 – Maryanne Fuchs

2007 – Pat Beffel, Jr.

2006 – Susan Rochester

2005 – Joyce Phelps

2004 – Karen Maas

2003 – Helen Greene

2002 – Linda English

2001 – Viola Main

2000 – Anne Moore

1999 – Mary Spring

1998 – Miriam Walker

1997 – Eva Hamilton

1996 – Harriette Emmet

1995 – Jane Botsford

The Jackson Symphony Guild Board of Directors is proud to offer the Mary Spring into Music Scholarship Award. The scholarship award will be given in the memory of Mary Spring each year. Since Mary’s legacy was one of achieving excellence in all that she did, we will be giving an annual award to the Community Music School’s most outstanding student in the area of excellence in musical achievement. The award winner will be featured as a soloist each year at our JSG Annual Meeting in May. To donate please call the JSO at 517-782-3221 to pick up a donation envelope. Checks should be made payable to the Jackson Symphony Guild with Mary Spring in the memo portion.




2019 Recipient
Haley Gipson

2018 Recipient
Ian Shasha

2017 Recipient
Abigail Fox


2016 Recipient
Laura Coleman


2015 Recipient
Jacklyn McAninch