Two trustees of The Florida Orchestra, Maria Cantonis and Barry Alpert, began to recruit members for orchestra support in 1991. The first meeting was held in September and members began the structure of the organization. A Planning Committee was formed and a mission statement was written, with activities centered on audience development, education and fundraising. The Florida Orchestra North Suncoast Associates was born.




A Steering Committee consisting of Mary Turner, Joyce Bennett, Rhoda Smotensky, Barry Alpert and Maria Cantonis was formed to carry on the work for two years. The first Tune Up Meeting was held on March 30, 1993.



NSA recruited members, conducted general meetings, initiated the Meet the Artist series, recognized new orchestra subscribers at Ruth Eckerd Hall, delivered orchestra literature to community events, gave assistance to Youth Concerts, preconcert lectures, Orchestra 101, a children’s petting zoo of musical instruments, promoted fundraising projects and inaugurated the Bravura Brunch which has generated major funds for the orchestra.

In 1994 a Steering Committee wrote bylaws and adopted a regular organization structure. In May 1995, Susan Siewruk was installed as the first elected president of The Florida Orchestra/North Suncoast Associates.

Today, NSA continues to organize events to promote The Florida Orchestra. We will be celebrating our 29th Bravura Brunch on March 4, 2023.

Diane, Pat, Lynda, Gisela

Executive Committee

Lynda Olander


Gisela Bennie

Vice President

Sue Ulrey

Recording Secretary

Dr. Patricia Donohue


Eleanor Cicerchi

Past President

Purpose Statement

Empowering Our Community Through Music  TFONSA exists to enhance the cultural and educational environment of the Tampa Bay community through support for the educational and community engagement programs of The Florida Orchestra.

In addition to fundraising through the Bravura Brunch and other projects, members volunteer at Youth Concerts, instrument petting zoos at concerts, and the annual Justine Le Baron Young Artist Competition.

Our support was critical in enabling TFO to post YouTube and Zoom musician videos throughout Covid for the community and to continue the work of TFO musicians teaching the school children and supporting school music teachers online.

Together our contributions help TFO continue to:

  • Provide free music education and instruction with TFO Strings for Kids, which puts instruments in the hands of young students.
  • Perform free educational Youth Concerts that reach over 30,000 students.
  • Conduct free professional development and training for public school music teachers.
  • Offer free Classical Kids concert tickets for 18 years and younger, and discounts to military, veterans and first responders.
    Go beyond the concert hall and into youth, senior and community centers, parks, public venues, museums and more.
  • Support full-time TFO professional musicians who live, work and give back to our Tampa Bay community.