Honoree 2015 – Valerie Imhof

Congrats to Valerie Imhof for being honored as an outstanding community volunteer!

Name:  Valerie Imhof

Nominating Organization:  Pacific Symphony

Honoree Category:  Arts

Why Nominated:  Pacific Symphony is privileged to nominate Valerie Imhof for OneOC’s 39th Annual Spirit of Volunteerism Award. Valerie is a model example of individual volunteerism and commitment to a non-profit organization, and to its institutional mission and service to the community. Valerie began volunteering in 1994 and helped create, develop and found the nationally-renowned and award-winning Frieda Belinfante Class Act music education program. Today Class Act celebrates its 20th anniversary, and has served over 200,000 K-8 students across Orange County during its history. The year-long, in-school program currently serves 30 schools in 17 districts and cities, providing unparalleled music learning activities, workshops and concerts for over 16,600 students.

Valerie and her husband Hans are members of Pacific Symphony’s Crystal Society, recognizing lifetime contributions in excess of one million dollars. This represents extraordinary giving, demonstrating the Imhof’s exceptional leadership as their gifts have inspired many others to give. Valerie’s outstanding guidance has brought many additional leaders, volunteers and philanthropists to Pacific Symphony. She has given both her time and resources to the Symphony, directly resulting in a music education program with great stability and historic longevity. In the Class Act program, Valerie has led its ambassador volunteer program, coordinating and training school representatives for each of the thirty participant schools. She has provided oversight for the volunteers through her direction, supervision and support. In addition, Valerie is a cheerleader and conduit, working closely with orchestra musicians, classroom teachers and school administrators to ensure personal involvement with the students.

As schoolchildren form relationships with the Symphony musicians in their classrooms, ambassadors are an integral part of the smooth operation of Class Act and are present during all activities including classroom lessons, ensemble performances, school assemblies and the culminating Youth Concerts at The Renée and Henry Segerstrom Concert Hall. Class Act also provides teacher-training workshops designed to instruct educators how to incorporate the arts into classroom curricula. Valerie has been a constant smiling friend to everyone in the program, holding all of the components together with her undying passion, hard work and long hours. Class Act was recognized by the League of American Orchestras and the National Endowment for the Arts as one of the nine most exemplary music education programs in the United States, and has been included in David E. Myers’ publication Beyond Tradition: Partnerships Among Orchestras, Schools, and Communities. This honor is substantial evidence of the level of depth and quality of the program, its smooth operation and its initial successful development twenty years ago.

Valerie Imhof was born in Glendale, California, the daughter of artist parents who both worked with The Walt Disney Company. At a young age, she began violin lessons and played in school orchestras. She attended UC Santa Barbara, graduating with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Social Science and a performance minor in music. In addition to Valerie’s twenty years of volunteer service, her husband Hans has served for many years on the Pacific Symphony Board of Directors.

Before Class Act, Valerie joined the Orange County Philharmonic Society where she oversaw their “Musical Encounters” program presenting exceptionally-talented young musicians in public school performances. She was President of Art Workshop, an after-school art program organized by mothers interested in enriching arts education for their children. She also served on the Board of the National Charity League for three years.

We value Valerie Imhof as a dedicated and committed volunteer of Pacific Symphony and are delighted to nominate her for this prestigious award.

Please write a note of congratulations below!

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