Outstanding Volunteers

The Barbara Cone Award, established in 1984, honors distinguished service in the advancement of music in the community and promotion of the Greensboro Symphony Orchestra. This year’s recipients, our own Robert and Laura Green, are truly a unique pair–a dynamic duo-who as a couple have provided stability and direction through economic challenges, a global pandemic, and the construction and opening of the Steven Tanger Center for the Performing Arts. Though their community involvement in a variety of areas, both individually and as a team, had long been recognized and valued in the Piedmont Triad; it is indeed fortunate that the GSO and the Greensboro Symphony Guild became the recipients of their extraordinary gifts. With passionate leadership that is both historic and visionary to our entire region of the state, Robert and Laura leave a lasting legacy in their commitment to the arts that will be celebrated for generations to come. They truly demonstrate service and dedication that is rarely seen more than once in a lifetime, and are most deserving of this very special recognition.

A successful portfolio manager and wealth advisor, Robert Green started his position as GSO Board Chair in 2014, and forever transformed the standards and expectations for this important assignment. Bringing a strong, proven business model to his new role, he incorporated the strategies of organization, strategic planning and execution, acquisition, patron and donor focus, accountability, marketing, public relations and fund development in his leadership style. He worked to engage the Board and the community in support of the Orchestra. He was, and still is, revered for his effective communication and marketing prowess, his business savvy, and his decisiveness and ability to connect the GSO with its audiences in a unique and personal way. Throughout his tenure, Robert attended nearly every performance, whether it be POPS, MASTERWORKS, or CHAMBER, often standing with the ushers at the entrances of the concerts, shaking hands, welcoming, and thanking attendees one by one, putting a face to the organization. He revamped sponsor relationships and community collaborations, and at the completion of his term, continued to be a valuable resource to consult for important issues, to acquire corporate sponsorships, and to open doors to new potential sponsors and donors. Under Robert, the GSO was well on its way to becoming the People’s Orchestra, reflecting the soul and essence of the community it serves.

Laura joined the Guild in 2007 after daughter Elizabeth Lane participated as a Symphony Debutante, and the organization immediately benefitted from her years of community leadership and volunteer service to the Junior League, her church, her children’s schools and the Tarheel Triad Girl Scout Council. She served as a Board member for 13 years, as President of the Guild—working with an experienced leadership team to launch our signature fundraiser A Notable Night and other community initiatives. Her particularly busy year was highly productive, and raised the most funds in the Guild’s 60-year history in support of the GSO. She served as Presentation Ball Chair in 2013, and has been named Mistress of Ceremonies for the 2024 Ball.

With Robert’s blessing and support, Laura took her talents to the GSO Board, and is currently serving in her second year as Board Chair. In this role she has created the Equity, Diversity and Inclusion Committee to provide a variety of fresh and innovative programming that appeals to a more diverse community audience; through her many community contacts, she has opened the door to the GSO’s newest large donors, Marilyn and Dean Green, who are now the naming sponsor of the new rehearsal space, and Laura continues to serve on the planning committee for this new space with the architects. Most importantly, she has created the search committee to select a new Music Director for the Orchestra, through the Season of Seven initiative. She has emphasized corporate relations, community visibility, support of the GSO staff and musicians, and the re-engagement of young professionals. Thus, the past, present and future of the GSO reflect her influence and character.

Together, Robert and Laura have demonstrated generosity beyond measure. For many years, they have opened (and still open) their lovely home to a variety of events and programs, for the GSO and the Guild—all in support of music education and appreciation. As Laura’s tenure as Chair of the GSO Board concludes later this spring, the two prepare to take on new roles—and arguably, their most important roles to date–that of grandparents. On behalf of the Guild, we congratulate you on your new addition to the family, and we thank you for your unselfish gifts of time, talent and treasure. Our children, and the children of the Piedmont Triad are eternally grateful.

Suellen Milton Receives 2020 Golden Note Award

The Golden Note Award recognizes a Guild member who has made an outstanding service contribution to the Guild and to the community….
Since 1978, the Symphony Presentation Ball has benefited both the Greensboro Symphony Guild and the Greensboro Symphony Orchestra. In addition to honoring outstanding young women throughout the Piedmont Triad, an annual donation to the Orchestra has been made on behalf of these young women by the Symphony Guild as sponsors of the event.  This year’s Golden Note award recipient, SUELLEN MILTON, has been an integral part of the Presentation Committee for nearly 30 years, and as such, has contributed greatly to the Guild’s mission of advocating music education and appreciation in the community.

A member of the Guild since 1990, Suellen served as Presentation Ball Chair in 1998, as Honorary Chair in 2015, and has had two daughters participate as Symphony Debutantes. However, it is her long-term dedication and unselfish devotion to the Ball that has ensured the continuity and vitality of this treasured tradition for many years to come, and has led her to be appreciated and admired by all who know her.  Most recently, she has co-chaired the Steering Committee, the governing body of the Presentation Ball. In addition, for many years, she has also worked as chair of the Marshals. Throughout the past 30 years though, she has been consistently involved in every aspect of the Ball, from selection to event coordination to Ball set-up, to execution, and strike. Her participation lasts all year–from selection in January, to bid delivery and various events throughout the season, to the Ball itself in December. And since she served as Ball Chair more than 20 years ago, she has continued to serve as an advisor and advocate for each successive Ball Chair, offering encouragement, a listening ear, and sound guidance resulting from years of experience. Through it all, she has maintained a calm, humble and gracious manner that has endeared her to debutantes, their families, the committee, and the community-at-large. It’s this long -lasting commitment, her enthusiastic zeal for the Presentation Ball, and her kindness to all involved that makes SUELLEN MILTON  a worthy representative of whom we all should be proud.


2020 Barbara Cone Award Presented to Shawn Houck

From left to right: Helen Rifas (Harpist, GSO & CaringSound), Ruth Metheny (Violinist, GSO & CaringSound), Michelle Schneider (Chief Philanthropy Officer, Office of Institutional Advancement, Cone Health), Bethany Uhler (Cellist, GSO & CaringSound), Shawn Houck, and Susan Kalstrup (Recreational Therapist, Pediatrics, Women’s & Children’s Services, Moses Cone Hospital)

The Greensboro Symphony Guild presented Shawn Houck with the prestigious Barbara Cone Award at the Guild’s general membership meeting on Tuesday, February 18. The Barbara Cone Award was established in 1984 by the Guild’s Board of Directors to honor an individual for distinguished service in the advancement of music in the Greensboro community and for the promotion of the Greensboro Symphony Orchestra.

As a registered clinical nurse, Shawn has refocused her career to include health care education and professional development coordinating workforce development at the regional, state and national level. Shawn is coordinator of regional education at the hospital-based Greensboro Area Health Education Center (GAHEC), which is part of the North Carolina AHEC system. Since joining GAHEC, she has worked to build partnerships among communities, health-care providers and businesses to make those connections and find ways to work together to improve health in the region. She is currently serving on the NC AHEC board of directors and is chair of communications.

Shawn is committed to the power of music as a healing entity.  She proposed and help implement the CaringSound Wellness Program, a therapeutic program for children hospitalized in the Moses Cone Pediatrics Department. CaringSound blends the arts with science and music with health care. It aligns with the direction of the Sound Health initiative of the National Institute of Health to improve health and wellness through music, Shawn said.  Shawn and Susan Kalstrup, recreation therapist in Cone’s children’s services, developed the logistics of CaringSound to avoid conflicts with doctors’ rounds and children’s treatment.  Shawn currently volunteers with the CaringSound Wellness Program.

Shawn has been a board member of the Greensboro Symphony for the past 10 years. She is currently serving a second term as secretary on the Greensboro Symphony Orchestra’s Executive Committee.


2020 Bravo Award Presented to Nancye Milam

The Greensboro Symphony Guild is pleased to announce that this year’s recipient of the Bravo Award is Nancye Milam. The Bravo Award was established in 2004 to recognize a Guild member who has been in the Guild for 5 years or less and who has given extensive volunteer service.

    Nancye Milam joined the Greensboro Symphony Guild in 2017 and she was a Deb Mom in 2008. As a new member, Nancye quickly used her sales and marketing skills to the benefit of the Guild by assuming a leadership role as Co-Chair of the Community Relations team. She revamped the Symphony Guild Community Relations presentation and gave excellent presentations to various community groups during the year. She also updated and revised the Guild’s Pops Concert PowerPoint slides which are shown at all of the Pops Concerts.

   In 2018-2019 Nancye joined the Guild Executive Committee as Recording Secretary. When the Executive Committee recommended that the Guild membership communications vehicle be changed to an online newsletter, Tuned in Tuesday, Nancye stepped in and assumed the role of Email Communications Chair. She made recommendations on which software to use and created the format for Tuned in Tuesday while still laying out and editing the Guild Horn for publication for the remainder of the year. She now publishes Tuned in Tuesday twice a month which has streamlined the many Guild communications that are being sent out each week to the membership. In her role as 2019-2020 Email Communications Chair, Nancye’s high level of organization and steady guidance proved to be a valuable asset to then Guild president, Vanessa Skenes.

   In addition to her positions as Community Relations Co-Chair and Email Communications Chair, Nancye has been Treasurer for the Love ‘n Music Tennis fundraiser for the last three years. Nancye is a very active Guild member and has volunteered at the Elementary School Concerts, the Middle School Concerts, the Super Sale and A Notable Night fundraiser. She is always willing to volunteer her time and talents and is always glad to help other Guild members. 

    Nancye is from Danville, Virginia, and earned her undergraduate degree from Longwood University. She is married to Charles Milam and they have a daughter, Blair. In her spare time, Nancye likes to play tennis and garden.

   The Symphony Guild is proud and fortunate to recognize Nancye Milam as the 2020 Bravo Award recipient and looks forward to her contributions for many years to come.