Investing in the musical life and legacy of Philadelphia

Our Officers – a Great Thanks and Welcome to the New Team

June 2, 2022

From the President

June 1 marks the formal start of the year for The Musical Fund Society of Philadelphia, now in our third century. View the  Bicentennial Concert program,  which recounted so much of our history, and deserves reading and rereading.

First and foremost, my deepest and most heartfelt thanks to Linda Reichert for her service, vision and leadership. Her prodigious commitments of time and effort spearheaded the Bicentennial celebration, sustained through the delays of COVID and brilliantly presented in concert on May 1 at the Kimmel Center. We commissioned significant new repertoire and heard it performed at the highest level. That is fundamental to what we were, are and will be as the nation’s oldest organization devoted to champion classical music.

The future of the Society and its continued value and impact on the musical life of the greater Philadelphia region depends on new and renewed vision. Linda led us to engage fully in a vigorous strategic planning process, aided by the expertise of Elizabeth Warshawer Associates. We now have a revitalized structure and framework, and much work to do. You will continue to hear a great deal about the implementation of the Strategic Plan from us, and we will need your help to make it a reality.

As Past President of the Society and as President of the Musical Fund Society Foundation, Linda’s work will remain critical for us. We also thank those who are completing their service as officers or directors of the Society – as President of the Musical Fund Society Foundation, Peter Burwasser, and the Society’s Secretary, Gary Galván, Past Presidents, Mark Huxsoll and William McLaughlin, and Board members, Bernard Resnick and Erik Petersons.

Our leadership team now includes Vice President, Lisa Miller, Treasurer, Nancy Drye, Secretary, David Webber and myself, President Bob Blacksberg.

Vice President, Lisa Miller, joined the Society in 2004 and has been a Board member since 2018. Lisa has over twenty years of experience working with non-profit arts organizations, and served as the Executive Director of Network for New Music for many years. Currently, she is President of the Board of Directors of Intercultural Journeys, a non-profit arts presenter dedicated to fostering dialogue and understanding among people of diverse cultures and faiths. She is a board member of the PRISM Saxophone Quartet, and also volunteers with Empowerment Square, an organization dedicated to helping women survivors of human trafficking rebuild their lives. And she plays piano, harpsichord, flute, bagpipes, guitar and ukelele, in that order of expertise (but not in that order of volume).

Treasurer, Nancy Drye, continues in her third year as Treasurer. She joined the Society in 1985 and began her Board service in 2018, having been recruited by Linda Reichert who knew her as the long-time treasurer of Network for New Music.   Her first job in Philadelphia was in the Music Department at the University of Pennsylvania,  running concerts for their ensembles from Richard Wernick’s Penn Contemporary Players to Mary Anne Ballard’s Collegium Musicum….a job she got because she promised to play viola in the Penn student orchestra, a commitment now kept for over 40 years, save COVID interruptions.  She then got into development, primarily for cultural organizations as a staffer (New School of Music prior to its merger with Temple; Annenberg Center; Historical Society of Pennsylvania),  consultant, and eventual freelance grant writer, where she specialized in budget development and reporting.  “If  it’s not in the budget, it’s not happening.”   She finds it exciting to be part of MFS at this time, with the celebration of the Bicentennial and the unfolding implementation of the new vision imagined in the strategic planning process.

Secretary, David Webber, joined the Society in 1992 and has been a Board member since 2018. David W. Webber (he/his/him) has had a multifaceted career spanning public interest legal services, nonprofit organizational management and fundraising, and public health policy advocacy. As if that were not enough, he was an avid double bassist but now restricts his music-making to the cello. Currently he serves on the board of the Musical Fund Society of Philadelphia. His latest book, The Music of Friends: 75 Years of the Chamber Music Conference and Composers’ Forum of the East, was released in July 2020. He is a contributor to the Broad Street Review. He lives in Mt. Airy with his wife, Jeannine.

President Bob Blacksberg joined the Society in 2012, has been a member of the Board since 2018 and became Vice President in 2021. He has been a resident of Center City Philadelphia since arriving in 1976 with his wife, Terry Novick, joined in time by sons Daniel and Aaron. Terry and Bob have served for many years in leadership at Society Hill Synagogue. Bob also chairs the Board of KlezKanada, a Montreal-based organization that promotes Jewish arts and culture, and especially its music, to a world-wide audience. He practiced law for the first part of his  professional career, and provides technology support and training to lawyers and law practices in the second.

An amateur musician, Bob has played and keeps playing clarinet in wind ensembles, including those at the University of Chicago and Harvard, and, after a break, the Upper Darby Sousa Band, the Chester County Concert Band, the Pennsylvania Symphonic Winds, and the Philadelphia Wind Symphony. The “Blacksberg Family Band” – a trio with Bob and sons, can be seen and heard at family events. Bob reports that there is no greater thrill.

We look forward to working with the leadership and all of the members of the Society to help the Society transform itself for its third century. Your continued involvement and contributions, monetary and otherwise, sustain us and help us grow. May we all do so in good health.

Bob Blacksberg
President, The Musical Fund Society of Philadelphia