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Committees Member Spotlight

Joanne Fernbach
Parliamentarian, Philharmonic Society Board of Directors
Committee(s): Marina/Windjammer Group of Huntington Harbour Philharmonic Committee


What do/did you do for your career?
I was a junior high teacher—English and Social Studies, but my favorite class was teaching remedial reading to teens who read at a 3rd grade level, max! In the last 20 years I have coached adults who are reading from the Bible at church services to help them find and convey the meaning of the words, and not just read words. This has been a most rewarding activity.

When did you start volunteering as a Committees member?
I first started volunteering as a Committee member when we moved to Huntington Harbour in 1986.

Why do you volunteer as a Committees member?
I volunteer because I love children and cherish the moments when they discover something they didn’t know, and it surprises and delights them.

Do you have a favorite volunteer moment or memory?
A moment I love to recall is when I was presenting the Music Mobile program and one of the students actually got a pretty good note from the trombone (when we allowed them to do that) and his face lit up. It was meaningful because this child apparently did not have much self-esteem and was not an ‘outstanding’ student. The whole class turned to see who did that and he was so proud. In fact, he went to the end of the line and did it again…three more times! I was thrilled…and so was he!

What is your favorite Philharmonic Society concert?
There are so many favorites…I think the one I really enjoyed recently was Itzhak Perlman…because it was so different.

Do you play any instruments?
I don’t play any instruments. As a teen I played the violin, but today when I present the Music Mobile, about all I can share is how to hold the instrument and the bow! I get squeaks that are most unpleasant.

What do you like to do for fun?
When I have time, I love to read. Sometimes we’ll take a ride in our Duffy around the Harbour. I love to walk and once a week I join my husband for golf…being with him is fun…the golf isn’t always fun!

What's your favorite artist, song, or type of music?
Well, at the risk of earning the disdain of classical music lovers, I enjoy listening to music from Broadway musicals; I love to sing along…which is what I do on my walks!

What's your favorite Philharmonic Society Youth Music Education Program and why?
Of all the Youth Music Education Programs, I LOVE the Music Mobile because it is so interactive. You can immediately see on the faces of the students the joy, or the understanding of what you have presented. And when they have the opportunity to actually hold an instrument, it’s a precious time for me! I do love the Fifth Grade concerts mostly because I know that a high percentage of these children will probably never come to the Hall again. But we are exposing them to something really special that hopefully, they will remember fondly and will make an effort to attend an event or concert at some point later in their lives.

Anything else you'd like to share?
I have to add that a special attraction to volunteering is the opportunity to meet women who are devoted to making music in so many forms available to children in our widespread communities. They all do it so unselfishly and with so much love for the work. And while many of us are ‘retired’ you would not say that if you knew the hours that are spent in efforts to deliver the programs: brainstorming ideas for fundraisers; preparing venues; organizing docents; setting up meetings; critiquing programs in the ongoing effort to improve and upgrade (even when we think we’ve finally done it right)! Every volunteer is notable in my mind! I am just one of so many!

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For more information on volunteering,
Call: (949) 553-2422, ext. 222
Email: Volunteer@PhilharmonicSociety.org