October 2022 – Give Us Your Time, Treasure and Talent
by Gordon W. Stanley, VP, Spreckels Organ Society
The beginning of this story is far from unique. Spreckels Organ Society was just one of several not-for-profit charitable organizations suffering the lingering effects of the 2020-2021 COVID crisis. It was a challenging time for many. For some, including the Spreckels Organ Society, 2020 was a year of increased giving. Audience attendance, on the other hand, was diminished to zero, or nearly zero, throughout the Park due to concerns of spreading the virus.
At the Spreckels Organ, we ceased all live performances, discontinued backstage tours, and most disappointingly, we were forced to cancel all youth programs previously scheduled by our Educational Outreach Committee.
If there was a bright note in the madness, then our Pandemic Recording Crew was responsible for that note. A group of ten talented and extremely dedicated volunteers risked their own health by coming to the Pavilion in the middle of the night – long after the San Diego International Airport traffic had retired – to work alongside our Civic Organist and Curator to record a series of tape -delayed performances.
VP Gordon Stanley and Trustee Dennis Fox readying the sound equipment
These performances helped to sustain our audience, and served to increase the number of offers we received from fans offering volunteer assistance. For the health of all, we retained our original bubble of volunteers; and due to their efforts, Spreckels Organ Society was able to host seventy-two tape-delayed concerts on YouTube. This enabled us to maintain our audience of nearly 2,000 loyal and frequent followers.
Like most not-for-profit organizations, the Spreckels Organ Society is slowly finding its way back to normalcy. Donations are down, membership renewals are down, and attendance at the weekly live concerts is lower than pre-pandemic, but steadily growing again.
Today, as Raúl Prieto Ramírez, San Diego's renown Civic Organist, plays live every Sunday, we are in need of volunteers to help in a variety of ways. In fact, the Spreckels Organ Society only recently wrapped up our 34th Annual San Diego International Organ Festival, with performances held weekly throughout the summer. Every Monday featuring a different artist, with organists traveling from as far away as Zurich and Quebec.
The Society has doubled our public relations efforts this year, thanks to the support of both local and regional media outlets. And, because our concerts are held in the outdoor Pavilion, our members, volunteers and guests were able to experience professional live music without fear of illness.
So, if you have a love of live performance - contemporary and/or classical – and would like to contribute to its continuance, we invite you to consider sharing some of your time, talent and/or treasure to the Spreckels Organ Society.
To learn about all the opportunities available, please visit www.spreckelsorgan.org/volunteer to find job descriptions for more than thirty positions, including Staging, Greeters, Docents, Stage Hands, Gift Shop Management, Refreshments Coordinator, and more. We also welcome volunteers interested in Board Governance. Volunteer applications may also be completed at our Membership Table – during our weekly Sunday concerts from 2:00-3:00pm.
Applicants will be interviewed in person, or by phone to discuss areas of interest and make the introduction to Committee Chairpersons. It will be our pleasure to get you started as a volunteer in our wonderful family of dedicated fans of the organ and live music. We hope to hear from you soon.