Circle Of Friends


Memphis Symphony Orchestra
The University of Memphis
Newport Hall
610 Goodman Street
Memphis, TN 38152 

(901) 537-2500

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The Circle of Friends

In 2010 Mei-Ann’s Circle of Friends was founded as a women’s philanthropic initiative to honor the former Memphis Symphony Orchestra’s Music Director, Mei-Ann Chen, and increase support of the Symphony Fund. During its formative years, the Circle was shepherded by Ellen Robinson Rolfes, who was the driving force behind its inception, mission, and success. In 2018 MSO dedicated the Circle of Friends initiative in Ellen’s honor. 

The Circle represents community investors, who share a deep sense of social consciousness and a strong desire to serve together as an instrument of inclusion through the performing arts.  Most importantly, the membership embraces a commitment to ensure intentional inclusion as a core value of the Memphis Symphony Orchestra. Their success has been recognized in the audience and patron bases becoming more aligned with the face of Memphis. Now in its final stage, the Circle sponsors The Musician Fellowship Program to bring authentic inclusion into the orchestra itself and supports the MSO’s commitment to EDI (equity, diversity, inclusion). The members know the if the MSO is to be truly recognized as the community's symphony, it must reflect the citizens it serves to remain sustainable and to strengthen the relevance and vibrancy of our city’s cultural center.  

Become a member of the Circle of Friends and truly make a difference in your community! 

Our Members 

Jessica Abell                               Nina Kawakami                                         Joy Wiener*
Belinda Anderson                        Edith Kelly-Green*                                    Melissa Whitby*
Louise Barden*                            Dr. Dale Kelman                                       Myra Whitney
Joyce Blackmon*                         Dorothy Kirsch*                                        Monica Wharton 
Kathy Blair*                                  Ellen Cooper Klyce*                                 Ruby Wharton
Ritche Bowden*                           Susanne Landau                                      Dr. Linda Wible*
Martha Boyd*                               Ann Langston*                                          Becky Wilson*
Ruby Bright                                  Mary McDaniel*                                        Dana Wilson*
Alice Rawlins Burnett                   Daphene McFerren                                  Jocie Wurzburg
Jeanne Gray Carr                         Dr. Shanea McKinney
Barbara Christensen                     Margaret McLean                        
Karen Clawson*                            Linda McNeil*
Nancy Coe                                    Dinah Makowsky*                                    HONORARY
Cindy Dobbs                                 Snow Morgan                                          Jamie Bernstein
Julie Ellis                                       Rev. Dr. Roz Nichols                               Kalena Bovell
Marsha Evans*                             Alice Nishiwaki*                                       Maestra Mei-Ann Chen
Kendra Ferguson*                        Deborah Northcross                                                                     
Susan Fletcher                             Deanie Parker
Candace Steele Flippin                Dottie Pounders       
Mary Freeman                              Tracy Prewitt                                            IN MEMORIAM
Kayla Rodriguez Graff*                 Laretha Randolph*                                   Ronell Brindell
Dr. Suzanne Gronemeyer*            Ashley Remmers*                                    Dr. Cynthia Pitcock                      
Mimi Grossman                             Beverly Robertson                                   Bonnie Smith
Pam Guinn*                                  Ellen Robinson Rolfes                             Maxine Smith
Claudia Haltom                             Gayle S. Rose*                                        Meg Turner
Cynthia Ham                                 Carol Lee Royer
Carolyn Hardy*
Summer Hardy                              Beverly Sakauye*                                  
Deborah Hester Harrison*             Tonja Sesley-Baymon                                         
Ann Hawkins*                                Anne Stokes
Barbara Hyde*                               Irma Merrill Stratton
Laurita Jackson                             Marti Tippens-Murphy*
Janas Jackson                              Tish Towns    
Jeanne Jemison, MD*                   Anasa Troutman                              
Dr. Carol Johnson-Dean*              Lura Turner
Rose Johnston                              Melissa Streicher Todd*        
The Circle of Friends membership levels include: 
Supporter                                    $250
Supporter & Sponsored Friend   $500
Patron                                         $1000 
If interested in becoming a member of the Circle of Friends please contact Lindsey Stanfill at or call at 901.779.7826. 

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Administration (901) 537-2500
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Administration (901) 537-2500
Fax (901) 537-2550

Memphis Symphony Orchestra
The University of Memphis
610 Goodman Street Memphis, TN 38152 | MAP IT


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