Your Support is Instrumental This Season

Dear ONNY Friends,

'Tis the season for giving, and ONNY has been fortunate to receive a few special gifts in recent days that I wish to share with you. Perhaps they will inspire you to make a year-end donation.

Last week’s mail brought a $2,000 check from Jim Parks and Donna Behnke, Potsdam. When I called to thank them personally, Donna explained they usually travel, which is not possible now because of the pandemic. She and Jim decided to donate their travel funds to arts organizations, ONNY being one of the lucky ones.  

Jim and Donna, your gift will help ONNY create beautiful music for people to face the challenges of these day. We sincerely thank you.

A recent phone call from Brenda Healey, Potsdam, resulted in a gift from her family of two pieces of music for the Mozart & McGill concert planned for April. We look forward to welcoming Anthony McGill, internationally-renowned soloist and Principal Clarinet, NY Philharmonic, as the featured soloist for that concert. We are grateful to Brenda and her family for their ongoing support.

Purchasing music or covering rental costs is a great way to help reduce ONNY expenses. The donor’s name is permanently recognized on the work in ONNY’s music library, and acknowledged on the program page of the concert in which it is performed. 

[[{"fid":"521","view_mode":"medium","fields":{"format":"medium","alignment":"left","field_file_image_alt_text[und][0][value]":false,"field_file_image_title_text[und][0][value]":false},"type":"media","field_deltas":{"1":{"format":"medium","alignment":"left","field_file_image_alt_text[und][0][value]":false,"field_file_image_title_text[und][0][value]":false}},"attributes":{"class":"media-element file-medium media-wysiwyg-align-left","data-delta":"1"}}]]Santa also brought a BIG gift from a donor in San Francisco earlier this year.  Ann Flynn left a message at the ONNY office, inquiring about sponsoring a chair in the Orchestra. I was curious how someone in San Francisco knew about ONNY. Ann explained her family has a summer home in the Thousand Islands. She and her mother, Mrs. Geri Flynn, of Poquoson, VA, attended the August 2019 ONNY concert at the Clayton Opera House, and fell in love with the Orchestra.

Ann decided to donate $2,500 to sponsor a chair in the Orchestra in honor of her mother, who chose ONNY's Principal oboe chair, filled by Anna Hendrickson.

Then, another $2,500 was received to commission a new piece of music about the St. Lawrence River, the shores on which her mother spent her childhood. The piece is made possible by Geraldine Kavanaugh Flynn and her husband, Dr. Charles Flynn, in memory of Clifford and Margaret (Peg) Kavanaugh, Syracuse and Thousand Island Park, NY (shown here).

ONNY violinist, Gretchen Koehler, and NCPR personality and ONNY narrator at our holiday concert a few years, Barb Heller, spoke via Zoom with Mrs. Flynn recently to elicit her memories of growing up on the river. They will incorporate her recollections of the sounds of the river in the new work. It will premiere at three performances of ONNY’s summer Pops concert in July 2021, one of which is tentatively planned to take place at Thousand Island Park on July 2.

The moral of this story - There are many ways to support this cultural gem in the region.

Memorial gifts honor a lost loved one. This year, several friends of the late Eric Thacher, a loyal ONNY concertgoer, made donations in his memory. ONNY and Eric's sons, Jeff and Andy, are grateful for this special remembrance in their father's memory.

ONNY Personnel Manager, Jill Rubio, and ONNY's former Orchestra Librarian, Keith Ziemba, are both monthly donors, as am I. This is an easy way to have an affordable monthly donation add up to a substantial annual gift. Consider joining us as monthly givers.

Other supporters, such as Board Director and Social Media Coordinator, Rebecca Weissman, contributed to ONNY’s Endowment Fund. These donations are matched by the Northern New York Community Foundation, up to $10,000. Thanks, Rebecca, for doubling your gift.

If you enjoyed our new ONNY ONLINE programs, including interesting interviews by Music Director Ken Andrews, fascinating conversations with ONNY's immediate past president Tim Savage, and performances by our talented professional musicians, please consider becoming a sponsor of ONNY ONLINE offerings. Support of this new endeavor is critical because the pool of funds is almost dry! Our sincere thanks to Nikki Coates of Nikki Coates & Associates, Potsdam, and Robert Tarnow of Light Touch Acupuncture, Massena, for their generous support of this effort.

On behalf of the 25,000+ viewers of ONNY ONLINE in just the first three months, I wish to extend sincere gratitude to the following organizations and individuals that provided the seed money to launch this digital initiative in September: NYS Council on the Arts, a state agency, with the support of Governor Andrew Cuomo and the NYS Legislature; Northern New York Community Foundation; ONNY President Kimberly Busch, and her husband, Gary, Hannawa Falls; her parents, Gary and Mary Ellen Morgan, West Winfield, NY; and Tim Savage, and his wife, Jill, an ONNY musician, Canton. 

Another great way to support ONNY is to purchase The ONNY Family Online Cookbook, First Edition, a fundraising project of ONNY’s Watertown Advisory Committee. You know it's an authentic ONNY publication because musicians submitted the greatest number of recipes AND desserts are the hightest number of submissions!

ONNY also encourages its patrons to shop locally, sustaining small businesses that have been and continue to be generous advertisers and donors. In August, more than 40 businesses donated great prizes for our golf tournament's silent auction and raffles, even in these difficult economic times.  As a result, the proceeds of this fundraiser tripled compared to last year.

Finally, If you do shop on Amazon, please designate ONNY as your charity of choice for AmazonSmile, where a percentage of your purchase is forwarded to the Orchestra.

Regardless of the amount or designated purpose of a gift, a year-end donation to ONNY is much needed and would be greatly appreciated. My sincere thanks to all ONNY supporters, especially those who have already renewed their support in recent weeks. Please consider becoming a cherished patron by making a contribution before December 31st.  Visit for easy online giving, send your gift to PO Box 488, Potsdam, NY 13676, or call me at 315-212-3440 to make a gift with your credit card.

During the busy and sometimes stressful holidays, remember: music is a time-honored and effective self-prescribed therapy. 

Music gives a soul to the universe, wings to the mind,
flight to the imagination and life to everything.

Wishing You and Yours Safe, Happy Holidays, and All the Best in the New Year!


Kathy Del Guidice
Executive Director