The Kennedy Center

Get Involved

Volunteer Council for the National Symphony

...supporting the education and community engagement programs of the NSO

The Volunteer Council for the National Symphony Orchestra (formerly the Women’s Committee) was founded in 1941 to provide educational and financial support to the orchestra. Over the years, it has given its support, both as members and volunteers, through a variety of activities. It provides funding for the Principal Oboe Chair, the sixth NSO subscription week and one NSO guest conductor week annually. Volunteer Council members organize and staff music education programs for all ages and meet in six regional chapters and as a whole for business, social and musical events.

A Note from the President

Carmel Clay VC/NSO President
Carmel Clay Thompson


If you have a passion for music, an interest in promoting musical educational programs for the community and its children, or just a desire to support with time, energy or financial resources the work of the NSO, then come join the Volunteer Council for the National Symphony Orchestra (formerly the Women’s Committee for the NSO).

We are a group of dedicated women and men volunteers who, since our founding in 1941, have given support to the NSO through: instrument petting zoos, promoting concert attendance, educational programs for the community, escorting musicians to neighborhood performances, greeting the public and ushering at concerts, administrative support, supporting the Summer Music Institute and the Youth Fellowship Program, and an annual campaign to benefit children’s family concerts.

We provide funding for the Principal Oboe Chair, the sixth NSO subscription week and one NSO guest conductor week.

Membership is open to anyone who shares a love of music, music education and a desire to support the NSO.

"Noteworthy" Newsletters


If you are interested in volunteering for any of the activities listed below please complete the membership application and send to:

Volunteer Council for the National Symphony Orchestra
The John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts
P.O. Box 101510
Arlington, VA 22210

Instrument “Petting Zoos”

Petting Zoo Volunteers demonstrate instruments at a musical instrument petting zoo

Members offer young children hands-on introduction to musical instruments of the orchestra before NSO Family Concerts, NSO Music for Young Audiences Concerts, and other special events

NSO Young People's Concerts

Volunteers serve as monitors for over 25,000 school-age children each year to encourage their interest in symphonic music.

Summer Music Institute

SMI SMI students perform on the Concert greHall stage

Volunteers provide transportation and support for young high school and college musicians from across the country who come in July to study with the NSO.

NSO Welcome Center

VC/NSO members greet patrons outside the Concert Hall prior to National Symphony Orchestra Concerts and provide information about the NSO season and activities at the Kennedy Center.

The Volunteer Council is proud to assist the National Symphony Orchestra with these community engagement programs:

  • NSO In Your Neighborhood presents dozens of performances and activities throughout the community.
  • NSO Sound Health sends musicians into local hospitals and pediatric units.
  • Notes of Honor sends musicians to the USO and military bases, and invites members of the military and their families to free holiday performances at the Kennedy Center.

VC/NSO members support the NSO's community engagement activities in DC-area neighborhoods each year by setting up traveling musical instrument "petting zoos", ushering at performances, and collecting surveys at select events from audiences.

Internships with the National Symphony

Are you interested in a career in the performing arts? Apply to become an intern with the National Symphony Orchestra to gain valuable work experience!

The following internships work closely with the NSO:
NSO Operations Intern
NSO Artistic Planning Intern
Education: NSO Library/Education Intern
Public Relations: Classical Press Intern
Development: National Symphony Orchestra Intern

Priority consideration for these internships will be given to candidates available full-time (40 hours per week, Monday through Friday during standard business hours.)

Please click for more information about internships at the Kennedy Center and instructions on how to apply.

Contact the NSO

  • National Symphony Orchestra
    John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts
    2700 F Street, NW
    Washington, DC 20566
    Phone: 202-416-8100
    Fax: 202-416-8105

    Mailing Address:
    P.O. Box 101510
    Arlington, VA 22210