Select Page

Friends of the RSO

Join the

Friends of the
Roanoke Symphony

The Friends of the Roanoke Symphony was formed in 1987 by B. Harrison Hale, Jr. (who was a member of the Roanoke Symphony Society) along with other leaders in the African-American community, to promote interest and participation in Symphony events. The work of today’s Friends has grown from the vision of Marionette Shaw Sprauve, the first president, a musician, educator, and well respected member of the Roanoke region.

The work of the Friends is concentrated in three areas: the education, training and encouragement of student musicians; the commission of works by African-American composers; and the presentation of African-American artists in performance, including jazz artists.

To encourage formal training and continued education of deserving student musicians, the Friends established a scholarship fund in the name of Marionette Shaw Sprauve. Additionally, the Friends provide private lessons, transportation and instruments to students in need. Each spring, the Friends showcase the talents of young artists in a recital performance. The Friends African-American Commissioning Fund encourages the work of black composers. In 1993, the orchestra presented Adolphus Hailstork’s piano concerto, featuring piano soloist Leon Bates and commissioned by the Friends.

In conjunction with the RSO, the Friends produce public benefit concerts each season with proceeds allocated to the scholarship fund. Several spectacular evenings of jazz and classical music have been presented featuring such artists as jazz pianist, Don Pullen, jazz violinist, Hoe Kennedy, Jr., the Audubon String Quartet and jazz legend, David Baker. The Friends also presented the Boys Choir of Harlem in both a public benefit and an educational concert for area school students, violin soloist Derek Reeves on a Roanoke Symphony Classics Concert and renowned pianist Leon Bates in concert and masterclass in 1999.



Brenda Chapman

Vice President
Lillie Patterson
Shirley T. Franklin
Assistant Treasurer
Mary S. Alle
Recording Secretary
Anita Price
Asst. Recording Secretary
Janice H. Hale
Corresponding Secretary
Sadye K. White
Past President
Mary S. Neal
B. Harrison Hale


Board of Directors

Scott Terry Cabbler
Marian F. Chappelle
Herbert Chappelle
George Clemons
Shirley Clemons
William Gilbert
Gertrude W. Harris

Kim Hayes
Marion V. Howard
Rose Moore
Lille T. Patterson
Christine K. Payne
Anita J. Price

Alice B. Roberts
Joyce Sherman
Charles Smith
Mary Smith
Marian Vaughn-Howard
Gloria Williams