The Venice Symphony Names Debbi Benedict Chair and Welcomes Three to Board of Trustees

Venice, FL – June 12, 2020– The Venice Symphony announces the appointment of three new members to its Board of Trustees with three-year terms beginning on June 1, 2020. Joining the Board are Bob Bartholomew, Andy Leisenring and Victoria Stultz.

Bob Bartholomew moved to Venice from Grand Rapids, MI in 2010. After receiving a  bachelor’s degree in chemical engineering from Georgia Tech, Bartholomew worked at Amway for more than 25 years before retiring in 2000. He went on to receive a Master of Management degree from Aquinas College in 1994 and post-retirement, served as a business consultant,  and adjunct professor at Grand Valley State University in Grand Rapids. Bartholomew is the immediate past-president of the Hospital Volunteers of Venice and a past president of the Venice Newcomers Club. Bartholomew is also a mentor with Big Brothers Big Sisters of the Sun Coast.  Of joining the Symphony Board, he said, “I am looking forward to attending concerts this season and hope to help The Venice Symphony continue to grow and prosper.”

Andy Leisenring has served in law enforcement for 20 years and is currently a patrol lieutenant with a local law enforcement agency. A Michigan native, he lives in Venice with his wife Melissa, a physical therapist, and daughters Olivia and Madison. Leisenring earned a master’s degree from Boston University is active in the community and is a graduate of the inaugural class of the Venice Area Chamber of Commerce Leadership Venice program.  “The Venice area has an amazing artistic community and the Venice Symphony has worked hard to place itself as one of the leaders of this community,” said Leisenring.   “I am humbled to have the opportunity to serve on the Board of Trustees and am looking forward to finding ways to contribute to its continued development.”

Victoria Stultz has been in the real estate industry for 20 years and is currently a Realtor with Premier Sotheby’s International Realty. Originally from Boston, Stultz moved to Cincinnati and began visiting Venice when she was a teenager. She moved here in 2006 with her husband Andy Stultz, who owns Atlas Building Company, and daughter Andrea, now a senior at Furman University in Greenville, SC. She has served on many nonprofit boards, is the immediate past-chair of the Venice Area Chamber of Commerce, and a member of the Venice-Nokomis Rotary Club. Stultz said “I grew up attending the Boston Pops and later the Cincinnati Pops, and now The Venice Symphony. I am looking forward to serving on the Board to help make an impact by bringing awareness of the Symphony’s amazing musical performances and to help enhance and grow the youth orchestra.

As of June 1, Debbi Benedict assumed the role of Chair of the Board of Trustees. Benedict served as vice chair in 2019-20.

Returning members of The Venice Symphony Board Trustees are Maureen Bentley (secretary), David Chivas, Penny Corell, Barbara Freeman, Bob Hite, David Joyner, Floyd Juday (vice president), Steven Ledbetter, Paul McCullough (president), Alicia King Robinson and Paul McCullough (emeritus). Retiring from the Board are Bob Anderson and Janice Zarro Wood.

At the Annual Meeting, the Board of Trustees unanimously voted to change Christine Kasten’s title from executive director to President/CEO of The Venice Symphony.