by Alexandra Thompson
We always knew that the members of the Pittsburgh Symphony Association were an invaluable arm of the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra. Founded in 1939 as the Women’s Committee and renamed in 1945 as the Women’s Association, the PSA has raised over 6 million(!) dollars for the orchestra, established its own Fine Instrument Fund , and has put on countless social and educational events for its members and fundraisers to benefit the orchestra. They even have a wonderful newsletter of their own!
Holiday House Tour 2021
What we didn’t know, however, was just how important their role would be in helping to cultivate a “new normal” for our organization. In June 2021, just after our most recent COVID protocols were approved, these devoted ladies and gentlemen, in a feat that can only be described as “PSA Magic”, organized, advertised, and completely sold-out their first-ever Symphony Splendor Garden Tour. I was personally struck by the realization that this was probably one of the first live cultural events in Pittsburgh since the pandemic began. Spirits were very high, as background music from PSO musicians accompanied the day’s oft-heard refrain: “It is so nice to finally be doing something with other people!”
There have already been two other public events since then, an Oktoberfest and the return of the Symphony Splendor Holiday House Tour. And that doesn’t even include their themed quarterly luncheons, sweepstakes, contributions to the PSO’s annual Gala, and newsletter pieces on the educational side of music and the history of our organization. All events were planned with the safety of PSA members, PSO musicians, and the public in mind.
This group, led by the extraordinary Diane Unkovic, is truly unstoppable and an inspiration for us all to keep charging forth through these uncertain times. To the members of the PSA, we are very grateful to know you. Thank you so much for sharing your time and talents with our orchestra!