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The Women’s Committee for the Petersburg Symphony was organized in January The following April in Centre Hill Mansion in Petersburg fifty area women attended the formal installation of officers with Edith Collier as President. The membership has increased over the years, and new members are welcome.
The Womens Committee for the Petersburg Symphony Orchestra (WCPSO) is dedicated to promoting and providing financial support for the Petersburg Symphony Orchestra as a permanent cultural institution in the communities of Southside Virginia, including Petersburg, Colonial Heights, Chesterfield, Colonial Heights, Prince George, Dinwiddie, for the Orchestra and its programs. The Petersburg Symphony Designer Houses were the most ambitious of these efforts: The 1992 Bragg gala House, 1994 Strawberry Hill Mansion; 1996 Zimmer-Totty House, 1998 Turner-Freeman House; 2000 Morrison-Sturdivant House;5 Cavalier Farm Estate, all with accompanying opening gala parties at each house. The Women’s Committee also presented three Fashion Shows of Tables, the first in 1991 at the Country Club of Petersburg; Return to Elegance in 1993 at Centre Hill Mansion, and a Symphony of Tables in 2003 at the Country Club of Petersburg. In 1992 the WCPSO sponsored Sights and Sounds of Christmas featuring homes in the Poplar Lawn area with Orchestra ensembles playing in each home. The Hats Off to the Symphony was a WCPSO original event in 2004, at Fort Lee Officers Club. In addition funds have been raised for the Symphony through dances such as Revisit the 50’s, A Sock Hop in 1995, and most notably “Puttin On /the Ritz” in 2004. The Women’s Committee has also sponsored buffet dinners, card parties, cake bakes, flea markets, and other unique activities. The first two Food Tastings were held 2006 and 2007 at the Union Train Station, the third and fourth at the Petersburg Regional Art Center (now the Ward Center), the last two Tastings were held in 2017 and 2018 at the Tabernacle Baptist Community Life Center. In 2019 the Women’s Committee presented its first and very successful fashion show and Luncheon.
A portion of the funds raised for the PSO goes into the WCPSO’s Scholarship account. The Women’s Committee awards scholarships to area high school students to further their musical education. These scholarships honor former Women’s Committee leaders: Edith Collier, Elizabeth Cooper, Lillian Edwards, and Eleanor Ritchings. The F. Nathaniel Gatlin scholarship honors the Orchestra’s founder and is awarded to qualified collegiate music students. In the early years the WCPSO sponsored appearances by the Petersburg Symphony Orchestra in the Petersburg schools and underwrote performances by small ensembles in the elementary schools.
Today the Women’s Committee continues its commitment to provide support to the Petersburg Symphony Orchestra for its programs and initiatives.
PAST PRESIDENTS OF THE WOMENS COMMITTEE FOR THE PETERSBURG SYMPHONY ORCHESTRA:
Mrs. Ellsworth Collier—1983-1985
Mrs. Richard Sisisky—1985-1987
Mrs. William S. Cooper—1987-1990
Mrs. George Pilarinos—1990
Mrs.J. Richard Edwards—1990-1992
Mrs. Samuel A. Madden--1992-1994
Mrs. R. Blackwell Smith--1994-1996
Mrs. William D. Townes--1996-1999
Mrs. Richard Betton--1999-2001
Mrs. Samuel R. Rhue—2001-2003
Mrs. Samuel Madden--2003-2005
Mrs. Annette Rosse--2005-2007
Mrs. Willie Campbell--2007-2011
Mrs. Leonard Muse--2011-2016
Mrs. Willie Campbell--2016-Present