A Rich History


From Small Beginning Comes Sustainable Support!

Vanguard was founded in July, 1963, when Sue Yager, who had been a guest soloist with the ALBANY SYMPHONY ORCHESTRA (ASO) when she was a principal at the New York City Opera, was asked to organize a group to support the orchestra.

Vanguard's first project was to raise funds to purchase an acoustical shell. Times Union political cartoonist Hy Rosen created a logo, for the campaign which was entitled “Shell out for the Shell.” Three fund raisers in that first year made possible the purchase of the shell.

By December 1964 Vanguard’s membership had grown to 570 who immediately began helping with publicity, mailing, advertising sales, and ushering. They opened their homes to visiting artists and provided transportation for them. At the request of ASO's Conductor Edgar Curtis, Vanguard turned rehearsals into youth concerts and helped during concerts at schools. A fund was started to give annual scholarships to orchestra members for further study. In 1972 Vanguard was incorporated.

In 1972, when the Albany Symphony became fully professional and Julius Hegyi was hired as Conductor, the increased financial needs of the orchestra led Vanguard to sponsor a variety of fund raisers including a New Year’s Eve dinner-dance and a Tulip Ball during the annual Tulip Festival. Despite these efforts Vanguard’s annual pledge to ASO remained at $3,000. The search for increased revenue led Vanguard in 1980 to follow the example of other American orchestra support groups in sponsoring a Designer Showhouse. The first VANGUARD SHOWHOUSE was a series of room vignettes at the Albany Institute of History and Art, and in 1982 an entire house was the site for what has become Vanguard’s most significant fund raiser, an event which since that time has attracted thousands of visitors from the Capital Region and around.

Who We Are


2015-16 Vanguard Officers

President | Ruth Cook

Vice Presidents:
Administration | Jean Fogarty
Development & Showhouse | Lynne Nisoff
Education and Community | Peggy Schalit
Orchestra Support | Anne Brewster

Recording Secretary | Marilyn Hunter, Mary Rodriguez
Corresponding Secretary | Joy Emery
Treasurer | Reese Satin
Assistant Treasurer | Stephen Corson
Technology Administrator | Lucy Song
Past President | Suzanne Waltz

Become a Member and/or Volunteer!

Be at the Vanguard of helping the Albany Symphony Orchestra and at same time enjoy the variety of activities and events that Vanguard offers. Joining Vanguard means sharing the satisfaction of helping to keep excellent classical music alive in the Capital Region. Vanguard has several levels of membership. To find out more or apply CLICK HERE.