The City Magazine Since 1975

Keeping The Beat

Keeping The Beat
March 2012
The Charleston Symphony Orchestra League fosters the Lowcountry’s musical future

This is a busy month for the Charleston Symphony Orchestra League (CSOL), with their 35th annual Designer Showhouse opening March 15th.

The 400-member CSOL has spent months hunting for the ideal residence, coordinating with 10 interior designers to transform the rooms of the Whilden-Hirsch house, planning a café, and filling a boutique with goods. Until April 15, some 75 volunteers daily will welcome visitors inside to raise funds for the Charleston Symphony Orchestra (CSO).

“The CSOL is our biggest donor,” says CSO artistic advisor Yuriy Bekker. “We are fortunate to have support from these angels who put great time and effort into many fundraisers.” Those fundraisers include a Symphony Tour of Homes on Kiawah Island, Benefit Ball, and member-hosted Revels.

It may be common knowledge that the 48-year-old league helps the CSO present more than 100 performances a year, but did you know they also orchestrate musical education in the community? The Arts Advocacy Committee lobbies legislators about the need for arts education in classrooms. Additionally, the League sets aside $32,500 a year to award scholarships for musical study to rising college freshmen and CSO musicians as well as to younger locals for lessons, camps, and participation in the Youth Orchestra of the Lowcountry. Children find their interest sparked during events such as a “Petting Zoo,” where orchestra members help them try different instruments. 

“We feel music is essential to Charleston’s culture,” notes CSOL president Caroline Thibault. “We hope students whom we reach will incorporate it into their careers—whether they’re performing, teaching, or encouraging others to appreciate it—and really support this art form as a pillar of civilized society.”