Caroline Whiddon currently serves as the Executive Director of Me2/, the world’s only classical music organization created for individuals with mental illnesses and the people who support them. She co-founded Me2/ in 2011 with her husband, Ronald Braunstein. Together they have developed a unique organization consisting of two orchestras that present exhilarating performances to encourage community dialogue about mental health issues and erase the stigma surrounding mental illnesses. Learn more about Me2/ at www.Me2orchestra.org.
Ms. Whiddon served as Executive Director of the Vermont Youth Orchestra Association (VYOA) until early 2011, providing leadership during a period in which the VYOA’s student population more than tripled. During her 13-year tenure the organization grew dramatically to include four orchestras, a chamber music program, two choruses, and three summer camps serving more than 600 students and 8,500 audience members annually. The operating budget for the organization grew from $300,000 to over $1 million during international tour seasons.
Ms. Whiddon successfully coordinated the VYOA’s $2 million capital campaign to renovate the historic cavalry Riding Hall in Fort Ethan Allen in Colchester, VT. She was responsible for leading the fundraising effort which included securing a prestigious Kresge Foundation grant, federal and state funding, and more than a thousand individual and corporate gifts.
The grand opening for the VYOA’s home ~ named the Elley-Long Music Center at Saint Michael’s College ~ was held in November 2001. This magnificent facility provides administrative, classroom, and orchestra rehearsal space for the VYOA. The crown jewel of the Music Center is its small, acoustically superb performance hall.
Ms. Whiddon planned and executed the VYO’s debut at Carnegie Hall in 2004, featuring a ground-breaking program of works written entirely by living Vermont composers. She then designed and implemented two international concert tours for the VYO, taking the orchestra to China in 2007 and to France in 2009.
Prior to working with the VYOA, Ms. Whiddon served as Executive Director of the Long Bay Symphony in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina. A native of Columbus, Georgia, she has also held positions as Manager of the Youth Orchestra of Greater Columbus (GA) and as Director of Community Relations for the Savannah Symphony Orchestra.
The daughter of professional musicians, Caroline Whiddon received her Bachelor’s Degree in Performance from the Eastman School of Music in 1992, where she studied French horn with Verne Reynolds.