For 26 years I worked on Capitol Hill in Washington, DC for two United States
Senators and two Members of the House of Representatives. I then became the
Director of Development for a small non-profit. This included raising funds from
individual donors, coordinating a capital campaign, writing grants, and establishing
a legacy program.
My love of classical music deepened over the years, and in 2001 I joined the
Board of the Alexandria Symphony Orchestra (ASO), a 77- year-old small but
highly regarded professional local Orchestra. I remain on the Board today and
have served on the Music and Development Committees as well as being
Chairman of the Education Committee.
In 2012, the City of Alexandria unexpectedly withdrew its annual $40,000 grant
which had enabled the ASO to have a presence in the public schools. Meanwhile
my husband and I had learned of El Sistema and of the success of OrchKids . It
took just one visit to Baltimore to convince us that an El Sistema program could
enrich the lives of less fortunate children in Alexandria and be a special way for
the ASO to support its community. With Dan Trahey’s knowledge and expertise,
we started a similar program at John Adams Elementary—a school that is
culturally diverse with over 35 different languages. When there were concerns
about funding, my husband and I offered financial assistance. Sympatico as it is
now called began in September 2013. Today funding for Sympatico is through
individuals and grants. Last year, Sympatico expanded to a second school, Patrick
Henry, where Chorus and Orchestra were taught in the afternoon. With 70 percent
of the John Adams students on the school lunch program, Sympatico is reaching
many children who would not have had this opportunity were it not for El Sistema.
It’s been a privilege to watch Sympatico grow and to see the impact that a music
education program has had on children’s lives academically and socially.