What's in a Guild?

Thursday, April 22

For Do Good Week's Volunthursday, we're highlighting the important work of the Omaha Symphony Guild and the Council Bluffs Guild of the Omaha Symphony.

Omaha Symphony Guild members Debbie Wood, Kelli Jorgensen, Kim Falk, Donna Brennan, Jennifer Zatechka, Kim Burkhalter, and Julie Liakos.

The guilds of the Omaha Symphony, both in Omaha and Council Bluffs, have long played a vital role in the orchestra's educational and community engagement mission. Our nationally recognized education programs annually reach over 25,000 school children in Nebraska and Iowa. This is accomplished under the auspices of the Omaha Symphony Association, supported by the guild's educational advocacy, social outreach activities, and fundraising projects.

As part of Do Good Week’s "Volunthursday," we wanted to highlight the work from our guilds that often happens behind the scenes and goes unrecognized. We talked with Omaha Symphony Guild member Kim Falk and Council Bluffs Guild member Kelsey Stupfell about what they do to support the orchestra as volunteers.

Kim Falk – Omaha Symphony Guild

Where are you from originally?

Fremont, NE

Can you explain what the Omaha Symphony Guild does in your own words?

The Omaha Symphony Guild promotes and supports the symphony’s education and community engagement programming by providing event volunteers and coordinating annual fundraising events.

Omaha Symphony Guild members assist students with the "Instrument Petting Zoo" at the Holland Center.

Can you share a short history of your membership with the guild?

I became a member of the Omaha Symphony Guild in 1998. I had an instant fondness of the education outreach concerts for students [Programming includes Family Concerts, Concerts for Youth, Mission Imagination, Celebrate Creativity, Choral Collaborative, and Link Up.] I have volunteered regularly at the Orpheum Theater, Holland Center, Joslyn Art Museum and wherever these programs take us. My fundraising role for the symphony started with the Omaha Symphony Designer Showhouse and continued for numerous years. My passion for the education programs led my back to the OSG after my twins started school. I took on leadership roles chairing Concerts for Youth, Link Up, and Celebrate Creativity. I was eventually honored to follow in my mother-in-law and sister in-law's footsteps to serve as OSG President in 2018-2019. I am now enjoying being a part of the Debutante Ball Committee.

Can you talk about what the Omaha Symphony Debutante Ball is and your participation in the planning process?

The Omaha Symphony Debutante Ball is an annual fundraiser for the Omaha Symphony Education and Outreach Programs. We recognize the volunteerism and philanthropy of families in our community. I am the Associate Chairman and Underwriting Chairman – I will be grateful for all contributions the Debutante Ball receives this year to support the education and community engagement programs that will be in-person again very soon!

Members of the Omaha Symphony Guild pose with Carnegie Link Up Students after their performance.

What is your favorite memory from your time as a guild member?

I have too many wonderful memories to pick just one! I love watching students arrive at the Holland Center for a concert. Their amazement with the building and excitement of the symphony concert touches my heart!

Kelsey Stupfell – Council Bluffs Guild of the Omaha Symphony

Council Bluffs Guild of the Omaha Symphony members Sarah Shomshor, Pam Beall Hill, Kelsey Stupfell, Rachel Morehead, and Donna Callendar.

Where are you from originally?

I grew up on my family’s century farm in Treynor, Iowa, about 25 minutes from downtown Omaha. In 2008, I married my husband, Perry, a fifth-generation farmer, and together we are raising our children on the Stupfell family farm in rural Council Bluffs, Iowa.

What made you want to join the Council Bluffs Guild of the Omaha Symphony?

I have always had a passion for music as an instrumentalist and a vocalist, and music is what led me into my career of banking. It’s quite an interesting story! I have over 14 years of banking experience and currently serve as the Director of Public Relations with TS Banking Group. Additionally, I felt very connected to the mission of increasing music education in Southwest Iowa for local youth and families!

Can you explain what the Council Bluffs Guild of the Omaha Symphony does in your own words?

The Council Bluffs Guild of the Omaha Symphony is proud to celebrate fifty-five years of expanding music education in Southwest Iowa. Our goal is to provide age-specific events that establish connections between orchestral music and real-life experiences inside and outside of the classroom. More than 20,000 Southwest Iowa students and teachers have been impacted in the last five years.

Without members of the Council Bluffs Guild of the Omaha Symphony, programming like Mission Imagination concerts at Iowa Western Community College would be impossible!

What is your favorite memory from your time as a guild member?

My favorite memory thus far has been watching the young students participate in the interactive Mission Imagination program geared for K-2nd graders. For some this might be their first symphonic music experience and to see it through the lens of child-like wonder is always uplifting and humbling. In addition, making memories, connections and friendships with the other guild board members, who are also very passionate about music education, has been such a wonderful opportunity.

Photo from a "Love Your Symphony" themed-dinner fundraiser put on by the Council Bluffs Guild of the Omaha Symphony

Why do you think supporting the Omaha Symphony as a member of the Council Bluffs Guild is important?

It is a great honor to represent this organization and its prodigious mission focused on excellence, collaboration, and education. I am passionate about how music and the arts can create a cultural corridor and serve as a bridge in our communities. I remember my first experience of the Omaha Symphony with elementary field trips as a student and the spark music still holds for me today. To be part of this mission of expanding music education and outreach programming in Southwest Iowa for our youth and community members is a true joy. This impact can help reach more families and a new generation of music enthusiasts.

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