March 2019 Writer // Janelle Morrison Photography // Kim Kiely and submitted Who’s ready to put away the bulky winter gear and break out some bright and bold spring fashion? Why not join the Carmel Symphony Orchestra (CSO) League at the Annual Spring Luncheon and Fashion Show at the Ritz Charles in Carmel on April 9 and help support CSO’s education programs while previewing the season’s latest fashion trends? Attendees will be treated to a delightful program, including a fashion show presented by Lilly’s Wearable Art Studio. For those who know its owner and fashion maven, Joan Carney, you already know how Carney specialized in bringing timeless fashions to the Indiana scene designed and created from all over the globe. The CSO League is the auxiliary group that supports the CSO and advocates for the organization. This group of selfless women organizes the annual luncheon that benefits CSO’s education programs as well as a myriad of other supportive initiatives that they oversee. The League does everything from providing food for the orchestra’s performing musicians and organizing fundraisers to selling tickets and assisting with providing the cash prize for the CSO Young Artist Competition. The CSO League President Sandra Pirkle, along with fellow League members and event chairs Sue Britton and Barbara Crawford, explained why it is important for the League to support the orchestra and why in turn the League needs the community’s support. “We are the cheerleaders of the CSO,” Crawford said. “We have a wonderful League, and it’s a good way to meet people and work together for a common cause. We try to spread the word and sell tickets to support the orchestra and its programs.” Britton added, “I feel like I am a PR person for music. I so enjoy the orchestra, and it is so wonderful to hear all these people get together and transmit this beautiful sound. I am very lost for two hours while I’m there. It is my escape.” CSO’s education programs are designed to immerse people of all ages and socioeconomic backgrounds to music and to the art of grace. “What drew me to this is the League supports the symphony in their efforts to bring music to children and to young adults. As a former educator, I feel that music is a universal language. Carmel is such a diverse community, and everyone comes together with one common thread that happens to be music.” How can you get involved and help the CSO League? Buy tickets to the upcoming luncheon and/or become a sponsor or volunteer. CSO’s programs include the annual Family Fun! experience where children get to experiment with different orchestral instruments and learn concert manners as well as the CSO Young Artist competition that has encouraged and afforded student musicians from Indiana the opportunity to compete with their peers at the highest level of artistic excellence for nearly four decades. CSO Music Director and nationally renowned conductor Janna Hymes shared her appreciation for the ladies of the CSO League and what people may not know about CSO. “Orchestras, over the last 100 years or more, have had a group of volunteers that donate their time because they simply believe in the product,” Hymes said. “When you look at the 1900s, orchestras like Boston and New York have always had these incredible groups who have been instrumental in the social aspects of the orchestra and in getting the word out in creative and fun ways. Their prime purpose has been to raise money for the orchestras. Carmel is unique in the sense that the community is incredibly supportive of education and of its youth. It’s so wholesome, and I think that music plays a part in the community.” Hymes concluded, “The women are so fantastic, and they are always out there supporting what we are doing, fundraising throughout the year and getting the word out on our behalf. I am always so grateful for all that they do, and they are essential to us being successful. I think that the public should know that we are expanding our repertoire. Our last few concerts have not been the typical orchestral music that one would expect. We have played a mandolin concerto. We did Pedcor Pops that had a lot of American patriotic music and the Wright Brothers and Jenny DeVoe. We’re trying to spread out a little and make this orchestra not just for Carmel but for all the northern part of the greater Indianapolis area.” To purchase tickets to the Annual Spring Luncheon and Fashion Show, contact the CSO office at 317-844-9717 or email Barbara Crawford at email@example.com or Sandra Pirkle at firstname.lastname@example.org. For more information on CSO and its performance schedule and education programs, visit carmelsymphony.org.