Contribute: Reflections on an Amazing Volunteer Culture

Bass and Board Member Louis Lao on what truly makes SFBC run

I started singing with SFBC in the early 1990’s, and while I have taken some breaks from the choir, I have always returned. I enjoy not only the focus on the music itself, but the love of music that is shared among our community of singers. I have always wanted to do something for this organization that is so dear to my heart, but wasn’t clear on how I could help. A few years ago, the time finally was right for me to get serious about contributing, and to pay back those people who had been so steadfastly supporting the choir. So I joined the Board. 

When I asked Martha, our overworked Executive Director, where she needed the most help, she responded, “Organizing the volunteer effort.” I started silently cursing myself: I had no relevant skills, and felt I was temperamentally unsuitable for it. But I agreed, and found that, like many other people around me who love SFBC and courageously step outside of their comfort zone to take on new responsibilities for the choir, I did have something to contribute; more than I realized or though possible. 

I see that pattern reflected all around me in SFBC, and I have been really moved by the camaraderie and generosity of people stepping up to the plate to make things happen for the choir. It is truly a group effort, powered by our shared commitment.

As my term on the Board comes to an end in a few days, I know the choir will be in good hands – the hands of each and every one of you, of us.

There are many ways to contribute to the Choir – some people volunteer their time, some donate funds, some people work extra hard to make sure they sing beautifully at concerts, some make new singers feel instantly accepted into this family of ours. There is a time and a place for everything. When the time comes, I know we each will find what is right for us.