PLAINFIELD, NJ - If you have ever attended a Plainfield Symphony Orchestra concert, you have surely seen several young people busily attending to the concession stand in the Crescent Avenue Presbyterian Church entrance foyer, or greeting guests and taking tickets from the patrons. These are the Plainfield Symphony’s Junior Board members, a group of dedicated young high school students who volunteer each concert season to assist the Board of Directors.
The Junior Board is comprised of students in grades 9 through 12 who live both in and outside of Plainfield, and have a strong interest in volunteerism and community service. While interest in classical music or musical ability is not a requirement, all the students enjoy attending the concerts and participating in fundraising events like after concert parties and house tours that benefit the PSO.
Students are able to gain experience in leadership, marketing, operations and fundraising; strengthen their activities for college applications; meet students from other area schools; and have access to potential college references for future jobs.
Last season’s Junior Board consisted of a total of 16 students representing Union Catholic High School, JP Stevens High School, Mount Saint Mary Academy, Plainfield Academy for the Arts and Advanced Studies (P.A.A.A.S.), Saint Peters Prep and Union County Magnet Schools, to name a few.
PSO Board President Rebecca Perkins commented, “Our Junior Board members play a valuable role in the symphony. Their support in ushering at concerts, selling merchandise and assisting at after parties helps us tremendously. Their participation is one of the ways in which we engage the community and is one of the reasons why we have lasted for 100 years.”
Junior Board members attend as many of the five concerts as they can, and typically meet prior to the concerts to network and prepare for the upcoming performances and events. Many of the students have vigorous academic and extracurricular activities, but work among themselves, with the direction of an appointed Symphony Board Member, to schedule flexible evening meetings.
In addition to serving as ushers, Junior Board members are responsible for managing the concession stand at each concert, including the setup and breakdown of beverages, baked goods and merchandise before and during intermission. They are also often selected to present bouquets to concert soloists as needed.
MaryPatricia Livingstone, who served as the Junior Board President from 2013 to 2015, shared these thoughts with TAPinto Plainfield:
"As a four-year member of the Plainfield Symphony Orchestra Junior Board, I enjoyed the opportunity to not only engage in a long-standing cultural tradition within my home town, but to also work with peers from our community whom I would not have otherwise had the chance to meet. The PSO Junior Board also afforded me one of my earliest leadership experiences, during which I honed my organizational and team-building skills as President of the Junior Board. I always look back fondly on my time with the Junior Board for its importance in my growth as a member of the Plainfield community, as well as a young professional in the workforce."
Interested in becoming a Junior Board Member? Send an email with your name, address, phone, school and current grade to: firstname.lastname@example.org.
About the Plainfield Symphony Orchestra (www.plainfieldsymphony.org)
As New Jersey’s oldest community symphony and the third oldest continuously operating community symphony in the United States, the Plainfield Symphony Orchestra represents the highest standard in musical excellence in programs designed to educate and uplift local audiences. Currently celebrating its 100th concert season, the PSO has been “the jewel in the crown of the Queen City,” interwoven with Plainfield’s rich history as one of New Jersey’s oldest and most substantial cities.
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