Houston Symphony Magazine From the Orchestra December 2010
On behalf of my colleagues in the orchestra, it gives me great pleasure to welcome you to Jones hall this Holiday season. This time of year is nearly impossible to imagine without music, whether it's a simple song like “I'll be home for Christmas” or a work as profound and uplifting as Handel's Messiah. It's amazing how perfectly music captures the feelings of the season that are so difficult to put into words.
Since this is also the time of year when many consider contributions to charitable and non-profit organizations, it seems like a good time to express our gratitude to the generations of Houston Symphony donors -- from the legendary Ima Hogg to today's current leaders – whose vision has allowed Houston not just to grow into a city rich in culture and the fine arts.
The mission of an orchestra is to bring the world’s top musicians together, not just for a single concert, but to become a part of the community; giving citizens regular access to living performances of the greatest music ever written, presenting outreach concerts accessible to everyone and performing educational and family concerts to introduce the next generation to the art of music. Because this unique endeavor requires such a large number of musicians, no major orchestra can survive on ticket sales alone. Orchestras were once mainly the private ensembles of the wealthy and powerful, and today, in most countries, are subsidized by the government. In America, however, orchestras rely mainly on the voluntary support of enlightened patrons who understand and cherish their mission. The positive side of this equation is that the organization’s future is freely determined by those who truly love and value both their city and great music, and we are all the beneficiaries of a collection of farsighted and philanthropic individuals who have given generously to enable us all to gather together to share in this music.
Like many of my colleagues, I make a modest contribution to the Annual Fund because I believe in the mission and know my gift will be well spent. For those who join me in this belief -- and in not having the means to match our most generous supporters -- there are still many ways we can help. The Symphony's support in the community is measured by the number of donors, not just their largess, and even a modest gift can help motivate other future giving. We also have many fine businesses that sponsor us as part of their civic investment. If you value their support of the Symphony, please patronize them and let them know that you have chosen them in part because of their support of Houston and its Symphony.
And more than anything, your attendance at these concerts is deeply meaningful to us. While we musicians are extremely grateful for philanthropic support, ultimately this is much more than just a job for us, and there is nothing more important than sharing this art with our fellow Houstonians and passing it on to future generations. This year, I plan to buy more Symphony tickets to give as gifts, as I know many friends for whom this music would be a deeply meaningful experience. Thank you for your patronage and we look forward to joining with all of you in the New Year. Happy Holidays and Merry Christmas from all of us.