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Donor Spotlight: Kathy and Bert Moberg

Kathy and Bert Moberg

Kathy and Bert Moberg have spent a lifetime developing their passion for the performing arts — especially theater. After decades of attending UMS performances and supporting UMS’s mission as loyal annual donors, Bert (B.G.S., ’76, L.S.A.) and Kathy (B.A., ’79, L.S.A.) decided that they wanted to help make a lasting and meaningful impact on UMS’s theater programming efforts by making a significant gift to establish the UMS Theater Endowment Fund.

In the following interview, we talked with Bert and Kathy about their passion for the arts and UMS, what inspired them to increase their giving to establish this endowment fund, and their hopes for others to join them!

Tell us a little about your background with the arts.

We both grew up in homes that valued the arts and literature. We each took music lessons, attended occasional concerts and plays, visited museums, and were voracious readers. Our interest in the performing arts has been a work in progress, increasing over the years. This shared interest even led to the choice for our honeymoon location, Stratford, Ontario!

When and how did you first become involved with UMS?

We attended a few UMS performances when we were dating, notably Handel’s Messiah and Zubin Mehta with the Israel Philharmonic. Live performances fell off our radar for a number of years when we were first married and our children were young. Then, when our eldest son, Eric (BA ’05) was about 13 or 14, he happened to pick up a UMS flyer that arrived in the day’s mail, looked it over, and asked, “Why don’t we ever go to any of these events?” We simply had never thought of it, so Bert and Eric picked out a couple shows to see together and enjoyed them. Sean (BA ’08) and Kelsey (BA ’10 from EMU) didn’t want to be left out, so the next year, we bought a few tickets for the 5 of us and it snowballed from there.

Do you have favorite or most memorable performance memories?

We’ve seen so many wonderful UMS performances over the years, it is impossible to pick just one or two. If we stick strictly to theater experiences, the Royal Shakespeare residencies in the early 2000s really stand out. That is when we began ordering season tickets for our family. The Gate Theatre’s Waiting for Godot in 2000 remains fresh in my mind, as does the Globe Theatre’s Twelfth Night in 2004 where the audience watched the male actors transform themselves into female characters on stage before the play actually began. That was astonishingly moving.

A Christmas Carol performed by the National Theatre of Scotland in December 2015 was extraordinary! It’s also memorable because we were able to attend it with all 3 of our adult children. When we bought the tickets, we thought it would be a fun afternoon out over the holidays, never expecting it to be such a magical, immersive experience. The kids still talk about it, too!

One of our very first theater experiences, back when we were dating in the mid-1970s, was Michael Redgrave’s Shakespeare’s People, a one-man show in Power Center where he performed selections from The Bard’s plays. I remember being thrilled to have the opportunity to see such a legendary actor live and felt grateful that being a student at U-M made it possible.

I love seeing so many students and young people in UMS audiences now — we are all part of a continuum.

What inspired you to establish the UMS Theater Endowment Fund? How do you envision/hope this fund will impact UMS now and into the future?

We love live performances, and theater is a particular passion for us. We appreciate the experience of sharing auditorium space with the actors on stage and the diverse audience around us. The university setting we have in Ann Arbor is a perfect venue for creativity within traditional theater and we are excited to have found a way we can channel our resources to make an impact. We envision this endowment assisting UMS in researching and bringing world-class traditional theater productions to our community. So much is involved, from travel to discussions with companies, to lining up financing, to arranging for visas… it all takes time, expertise, and money. We hope this endowment can be a catalyst for the larger undertaking of presenting plays that attendees will discuss, ponder, and remember for years.

Our goal is for this endowment to grow as practical way to assist UMS in enhancing its traditional theater offerings. We chose a broad, general name for this fund to make it clear that we would be delighted if fellow theater supporters participated with a contribution to the endowment fund at any level.

What advice would you have for someone who is exploring UMS performances for the first time (or even someone who has been a patron for years)?

Be open to new experiences! In addition to attending the many UMS events we know we will love each year, we always purchase tickets to some shows that sound unfamiliar to us. We have learned a lot by doing this and have added many artists, companies, and even some new categories to our list of favorites. We reliably leave the venue having had a fresh, interesting, thought-provoking experience. How lucky we are to have these opportunities!


If you wish to contribute to the UMS Theater Endowment Fund, we welcome your support! Please call the UMS Development Office at 734.764.8489. Every gift makes a difference and will ensure that traditional theater remains a part of UMS now and for future generations to come.

Corporate Spotlight: Sesi Lincoln

Lincoln Aviator in front of Hill Auditorium

UMS’s new 2022 Lincoln Aviator, courtesy of Sesi Lincoln.

From the stagehands who load in scenery and equipment, to the UMS artist services team members who secure elusive hotel rooms during a Michigan home football weekend, a complex web of logistics is critical to make each performance happen. And one of the most important components is making sure our guest artists arrive at the appropriate venue on time…in comfort and style!

When President Emeritus Ken Fischer arrived on the scene in 1987, the soloists and small ensembles UMS presented were picked up at the airport by the head of the organization in his personal vehicle. This worked just fine for an operation that presented roughly 20 performances a year. But as UMS’s programming grew to roughly 60 stage presentations of classical music, dance, jazz, theater, music from communities of shared heritage, and more, not to mention 100+ different learning and engagement activities that took artists all over southeast Michigan to school classrooms and nonprofit partners, a more flexible (and elegant!) solution was needed.

Enter Joseph Sesi. The Sesi Lincoln dealership now on Jackson Road in Ann Arbor was founded by Joe’s uncle and namesake in 1946. Joe and former UMS Director of Finance and Administration, John Kennard, were classmates at Eastern Michigan University’s College of Business. A few years after he began working at UMS, John took Ken Fischer out to meet Joe and explain UMS’s situation.

Joe jumped right in to help, providing UMS with a beautiful new Lincoln vehicle every two years. Not only did UMS now have a vehicle fully dedicated to artist transportation at no cost to the organization, but the use of a beautiful new Lincoln always driven by a staff member or trusted volunteer also helped establish UMS’s reputation for hospitality among artists as “first class.”

Lincoln Aviator in front of Hill Auditorium

A comfortable arrival to Ann Arbor is an important first impression for UMS guest artists.

Joe went on to serve on the UMS Board for six years. Together with his wife, Yvonne, and daughter, Katie, they have also hosted fundraising events, contributed to UMS’s endowment, and introduced UMS to countless friends and family through the years.

This season, UMS’s visiting artists are ferried to their engagements in a beautiful new 2022 Lincoln Aviator, complete with the UMS logo decal on the side. Keep your eye out around town, and you may just catch a glimpse of a world-famous artist inside!

Lincoln Aviator in front of Hill Auditorium

Donor Spotlight: Elaine and Peter Schweitzer

Sometimes, attending a UMS concert can lead a person on an unexpected and fulfilling journey…

Peter and Elaine Schweitzer

Peter and Elaine Schweitzer on a recent trip to Alaska.

Peter Schweitzer knew about UMS as a student at the University of Michigan (LSA ‘61), but after graduation, a busy career in advertising took him all over the world. After retiring, Peter and his wife, Elaine, moved from New York City to Ann Arbor — at the same time UMS President Matthew VanBesien made the same trip, leaving the New York Philharmonic to become UMS’s seventh president.

Elaine and Peter attended a swinging concert of New Orleans jazz by Henry Butler, Steven Bernstein & The Hot 9 held at Ann Arbor’s Downtown Home and Garden, as guests of UMS president emeritus Ken Fischer, whom Peter knew well from his involvement with the U-M Alumni Association. Ken introduced Peter and Elaine to Matthew, and they instantly hit it off, connecting through their time in New York and appreciation for New Orleans jazz. Later that fall, Matthew introduced Peter and Elaine to another NOLA/NYC artist — Wynton Marsalis — at a reception while the legendary musician was in town for a holiday performance.

What followed was a self-guided education about jazz.

“During my cross-country road trips, I listened to recordings of Wynton, NPR programs he hosted, watched Ken Burns’s documentary on him — really anything I could find. I became a member at Jazz at Lincoln Center so I’d get updates and new educational resources, and when UMS brought JLCO’s ‘Swing University’ series to its community during the pandemic, I watched every episode.”

A year or so later, Wynton spoke to the UMS National Council, a volunteer fundraising and advisory group for which Wynton has served as Honorary Co-Chair since 2018. “I had the great fortune to hear Wynton speak to us about his philosophy on music, on education, really on life broadly speaking,” said Schweitzer. “I’ve really come to admire him as someone who knows exactly what he’s thinking and doesn’t hold back on sharing it, always in the most eloquent way. In my opinion, he has both feet on the ground.”

Peter Schweitzer with Wynton Marsalis and Matthew VanBesien

Peter Schweitzer, Wynton Marsalis, and Matthew VanBesien following a JLCO concert at the Younes and Soraya Nazarian Center for the Performing Arts at California State University, Northridge

Peter and Elaine’s admiration for Wynton and the ensemble led them to sponsor the JLCO in a one-week residency this October:

“The impact that an artist, educator, and thinker like Wynton Marsalis and, really, all the musicians in the band can have when they are able to sit down in Ann Arbor for a week is just extraordinary.”

In addition to their performances — which include a special, one-hour session just for K-12 students — JLCO musicians will be coaching jazz ensembles in regional high schools; rehearsing for “All Rise” with University of Michigan students in the jazz, orchestral, and choral programs; arranging a brand new set of charts for a half-time show with the Michigan Marching Band; conversing with Athletic Director and fellow NOLA native Warde Manuel as part of the Penny Stamps Speaker Series; and much more. Complete details for all public events can be found online at

“Our message to fellow U-M alumni and to residents of the greater Ann Arbor region is this: if you want our students to have these sorts of incredible opportunities — experiences that will inspire them to reach higher, experiences with the greatest performers and artists in the world that they will remember for the rest of their lives — join Elaine and me in supporting UMS through donating and sponsoring UMS’s work. We’ve taken tremendous satisfaction and pride in helping to make the Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra’s week of activity possible, and had a lot of fun in the process.”

Bob and Darragh Weisman: A Love Story with Each Other and Music

Bob and Darragh Weisman met at Michigan when he was a junior and she was a sophomore in 1957. We spoke with Bob about his wife Darragh, who passed away in 2021, about how they met, their UMS memories, and what inspired his gift to support an annual performance in perpetuity to honor the memory of his wife forever.

Bob had no idea that answering “yes” to a date with Darragh would change his life…

“Darragh and I met in September of 1956, her sophomore year and my junior year. A mutual friend set us up. I didn’t have a date and she didn’t have a date. I said sure. I had no idea the long-range implications of saying yes to that question.

The one outlet we had to be together on a regular basis was going to concerts here in the second balcony of Hill Auditorium…”

Vladimir Horowitz ProgramDo you have a favorite or most memorable UMS moment?

Our favorite concert without question was the Philadelphia Orchestra in 1978 with Vladimir Horowitz playing Rachmaninoff’s third piano concerto. That performance was head and shoulders above any other. But every season UMS delivers something very special.

In fact, the last performance Darragh and I saw together was probably the second-best concert we ever heard at Hill. Just before the world was shut down by the pandemic, on March 3 2020, Yo Yo Ma, Leonidas Kavakos, and Emanuel Ax performed three Beethoven Trios. Darragh and I were fortunate enough to have been sponsors of this performance.

What inspired your gift to UMS?

The original seed was planted way back in 1957 or 1958 when we first started attending UMS performances for $2 a ticket. I couldn’t have afforded $10 seats and knew that someone else’s support of UMS made it possible for me to buy a $2 ticket as a student. I knew then that I wanted to do something like this in the future if I was able to.

When Darragh died I remembered that other UMS supporters had established endowments to fund a performance in perpetuity. I wanted to establish a fund to both honor my late wife and provide a forever gift to an organization that has meant so much to us. It is a true pleasure to be able to make contributions now in my lifetime to build the fund and provide a future gift through my estate plan to fully endow and support a UMS performance in perpetuity for future generations.

Darragh and Bob Weisman with their grandchildren

Darragh and Bob Weisman with their grandchildren

What does a forever gift mean to you?

To have her name go on forever is big, not just for her memory, but for our family. UMS has meant a lot to us over the years. To be able to see that UMS is going to be able to go on, not only for Darragh and the family, but for the Ann Arbor community, that great music will be here for decade after decade. It was 60+ years for us, I think this gift will help it go on longer. I am very pleased. Endowing this concert for Darragh is everything I hoped it would be.

Forever UMS graphic
Make a gift to support UMS forever through a planned gift. Contributions of any size make a difference to support UMS in the future for generations to come. Contact Marnie Reid at 734-647-1178 or

Corporate Spotlight: All Seasons Senior Living, Jerry Beznos

Jerry Beznos

The arts are a signature part of the All Seasons Senior Living experience. Corridors feel more like galleries with specially-curated displays of photography, mixed media, and more. An art studio complete with its own kiln is found just around the bend from a versatile auditorium with a beautiful Bösendorfer piano. We sat down with UMS 2021/22 Season Preview sponsor and Beztak partner, Maurice “Jerry” Beznos, to learn more about All Seasons’ philosophy.

Tell us a little bit about All Seasons.

All Seasons is an upscale, active lifestyle senior living community that has been thoughtfully designed to delight every one of the senses – every day. Each of our locations (there are four in Michigan: Ann Arbor, Birmingham, Rochester Hills, and West Bloomfield) offers residents luxury amenities to stay active, engaged, and connected, including a state-of-the-art fitness center, an indoor-outdoor heated swimming pool, an art studio that offers pottery classes in-house, a purposely curated library and a 70-seat auditorium for continuing education, live musical performances and theater programming, to name a few. Our newest property, located in Ann Arbor, is nestled into the tree line of Parker Mill Park at the corner of Geddes and Dixboro on Ann Arbor’s northeast side.

All Seasons, Ann Arbor

All Seasons Ann Arbor


Why was All Seasons inspired to support UMS?

The answer to this question is derived from the very core of our individual and corporate belief that the support and the experience of the arts, in all of its manifestations, give expression, provide animation and inspiration to the spirit within us. More – and here we think of George Eliot who said it best – “art is the nearest thing to life; it is a mode of amplifying experience and extending our contact with our fellow-men beyond the bounds of our personal lot.” What could be more important than that?

All Seasons, as we like to say, is “For the Joys of Senior Living.” To us, the arts are integral to who we are as individuals and what we do. Even more, in one way or another, the founding partners of All Seasons have been lifetime theater and concert-goers and avid museum visitors. Indeed, one has been studying and playing the classical piano repertoire for 50 years, another has accumulated a distinguished collection of modern art, another has led one of the nation’s most prestigious chamber music concert series for over 20 years. Our support of the arts is personal, deep, and long abiding.

All of us at All Seasons passionately believe that presenting diverse social, educational, and cultural enrichment programs constitutes one of the fundamental components of our mission: as important as providing the finest dining opportunities, the most beautifully designed and appointed environments in the industry. We are all about “the best.” It is for these reasons that our communities even feature Bösendorfer concert grand instruments on which artists (and our residents) are invited to perform.


Do you have a favorite performance memory you’d like to share?

With heartfelt enthusiasm I cherish our art experiences of the past while always looking forward to the next experience, which is a renewal of sorts; it is a kind of desire that increases as it is gratified and as it is ever inspired anew. I am happy to declare, “too many to mention!”

Forward Fund Spotlight: Stephen & Faith Brown

Faith and Stephen Brown

Faith and Stephen Brown

Stephen Brown is an alumnus of the University of Michigan (B.A., English, ’66; J.D. ’69), and practiced labor and employment law in Washington, DC and Chicago for 30 years. He and his wife, Faith (B.A. English, ‘69), retired to the San Francisco area in 2001. We spoke with Stephen about his UMS memories, his chance meeting with UMS president emeritus Ken Fischer, and what inspired their gifts to the Forward Fund this past year.


Tell us your fun story of first meeting Ken Fischer, UMS president emeritus.

I was walking down the street in San Gemingano, in Tuscany, and spotted a guy wearing a familiar ‘block M’ cap. I was wearing a similar cap. Naturally, this led to a discussion of our mutual interests. The guy was Ken Fischer, former president of the UMS. It was one of many great encounters I’ve experienced all over the world as a result of wearing a Michigan cap. People have greeted me with “Go Blue” everywhere — from Sydney to Buenos Aires!

Stephen Brown in Tuscany, 2019

Stephen Brown in Tuscany, 2019

When did you start attending UMS events?

I began attending UMS events as a Michigan undergraduate in the ‘60s. It was amazing to have world-class artists so accessible and such a short walk away. I was just discovering classical music back then and the opportunity to attend live UMS concerts really broadened my appreciation and knowledge.

Do you have a favorite or most memorable UMS moment?

May Festival PersephoneI remember paying $1 for a standing room ticket to hear Igor Stravinsky conduct the Philadelphia Orchestra in Persephone at the annual May Festival. I also recall other amazing May Festival concerts, such as hearing E. Power Biggs with Eugene Ormandy and the Philadelphia Orchestra perform the Saint-Saëns organ symphony at Hill Auditorium and artists such as Joan Sutherland and Rudolf Serkin. And I always looked forward to Ormandy conducting the Philadelphia Orchestra in “The Victors” at the last May Festival concert of the season.

What inspired your gifts to the Forward Fund?

This was our first donation to UMS, and an opportunity to give back after all our wonderful concert experiences. The Bank of Ann Arbor offered a one-for-one match, which was a nice incentive for us. We wanted to help UMS take full advantage of the match!

Why are the arts so important to our Ann Arbor community?

Ann Arbor may be a relatively small city but it has cultural resources that rival or exceed many major cities. Ann Arbor is often selected as the best college town in the country and one of the best places to live. I believe the arts play an important role in many ways, including attracting top students and faculty and in the ranking and reputation of the University. We hope to play a small part in keeping Michigan on top.

Why should more UM alumni give back to the arts on our campus?

It’s important for Michigan to remain a vibrant and premier University. When I meet other Michigan alumni, the mention of the University and Ann Arbor generally brings a smile and leads to reminiscences about all the great experiences they enjoyed as students. UMS concerts are often a big part of those experiences.

UMS Forward Fund

Make a gift to the Forward Fund and support UMS as we safely return to live events. Contributions made before the end of 2021 will help offset projected operational deficits for the next two years that are a direct result of the pandemic.

Forward Fund Spotlight: Christina Kim

Christina Kim is a financial advisor with Edward Jones, as well as a UMS board member and alumna of the University of Michigan. Discover how UMS and the arts shaped her life growing up in Ann Arbor, and what inspires her family to support the UMS Forward Fund.

UMS Forward Fund

Make a gift to the Forward Fund and support UMS as we safely return to live events. Contributions made before the end of 2021 will help offset projected operational deficits for the next two years that are a direct result of the pandemic.

Forward Fund Spotlight: Versell Smith, Jr.

Versell Smith, Jr. is executive director of Corner Health Center in Ypsilanti, as well as a UMS board member and alumnus of the U-M School of Music, Theatre & Dance. Discover what inspires him to support the UMS Forward Fund and how the arts have shaped his career beyond performance.

UMS Forward Fund

Make a gift to the Forward Fund and support UMS as we safely return to live events. Contributions made before the end of 2021 will help offset projected operational deficits for the next two years that are a direct result of the pandemic.

Donor Spotlight: Alec Gallimore, Michigan Engineering

Michigan Engineering Dean Alec Gallimore in Hill Auditorium

Dean Alec Gallimore giving welcome remarks at the live presentation of 2001: A Space Odyssey at Hill Auditorium.

Michigan Engineering is an important University of Michigan partner and generous supporter of UMS. Their collaborations have created unique and meaningful performing arts encounters for students and faculty across campus. We spoke with Alec Gallimore, the Robert J. Vlasic Dean of Engineering at the University of Michigan and a UMS Board Member, to discuss his background with the Arts, favorite UMS memories, and our special partnership with Michigan Engineering.

Tell us a little about your background with the arts – artistic talents, first performing arts experience. Did you grow up with the arts or come to them as an adult?

Growing up, my parents loved to play music throughout our home and encouraged my brother and me to be musicians. We would practice a lot; I was lead guitar and my brother would be on drums. In my youth, I was known for my playing speed and fancied myself a budding Steve Howe, Jimi Hendrix, Jimmy Page, or Eddie Van Halen (Eruption!). I don’t play much anymore but I’ve owned a “Made in Michigan” cherry-red Gibson SG guitar since 1977. Fun fact, the Gibson Guitar Corporation was founded in Kalamazoo, Michigan, but moved its production to Nashville, Tennessee, in 1984. Proud to say my ’77 SG was made in Kalamazoo!

When and how was Michigan Engineering first inspired to partner with UMS?

I’ve never viewed engineering as being a purely “left brain” enterprise. Instead, I’ve always seen it as a highly right brain endeavor as so much of what we do is create! One of our values at Michigan Engineering is the combination of Creativity, Innovation, and Daring (C/I/D). We’re always looking for new ways to demonstrate the imaginative aspect of engineering by embracing other forms of creative expression in a very visible way while also illustrating our zest for C/I/D. With this in mind, in 2018, we had the opportunity to collaborate with UMS on a live music-accompanied viewing of 2001: A Space Odyssey in Hill Auditorium for an audience of 3500+. I just couldn’t pass up the chance, especially considering it’s literally one of my favorite movies and has been since childhood.

Please share your favorite UMS performance or memory.

It’s tough to choose since I’ve thoroughly enjoyed so many offerings through both my time as a UMS board member and Michigan Engineering’s partnership. The musical performances have been amazing. Some Old Black Man and the opportunity to meet Wendell Pierce was thought-provoking and riveting. But watching 2001: A Space Odyssey—a movie that set me on my career trajectory decades ago—accompanied by the Detroit Symphony Orchestra in the acoustically perfect Hill Auditorium is a memory I will always cherish.

2001: A Space Odyssey in Hill Auditorium

UMS’s motto is ‘Be Present,’ but during these times we hope our community Stays Present until we can safely return to our normal programming. How are you ‘Staying Present’ with the arts?

As I’ve said, engineering is as much a creative field as it is a technical one. I appreciate the various expressions of creativity showcased by UMS and I look forward to when we can come together again in person. In the meantime, all of us can experience the arts in exciting new ways through UMS’ Digital Artist Residencies.

Most recently, Michigan Engineering was a lead presenting sponsor for our production of Some Old Black Man. In addition to the streamed performance, the college held a virtual conversation between the play’s co-star, Wendell Pierce, and Engineering faculty and students. Can you talk about your support for that production and what it means to Michigan Engineering to provide these opportunities for your students, faculty, and staff?

We felt it was important to support this project for two reasons. First, we wanted to do something special for our students, faculty, and staff during this difficult academic year. Second, we wanted to reinforce our increased emphasis on diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) initiatives. This upcoming fall, we expect to launch a college-wide DEI education program.

This play and our community’s virtual panel discussion with Wendell Pierce served both purposes exceptionally well. During the discussion, Wendell was able to extrapolate broader issues of social justice from the performance. He reminded us that as engineers “we must solve the problem. Get to the proof.” He further described that, just like in acting, in engineering sometimes the “empty space,” or what is not acknowledged, is what we need to consider.

I marvel how creative people, such as Wendell Pierce, can transcend the physical limitations of our times and still interpret in compelling ways the profound challenges we face as a society. He is an eloquent, insightful spokesperson for the arts and how they can shape our perspective. His digital artist residency, with a focus on social justice and anti-racism, was especially timely and we welcomed the opportunity to be a part of it.

Donor Spotlight: Tim and Sally Petersen

Tim and Sally Petersen backstage with Tim’s mother and Yo-Yo Ma.

Tim and Sally Petersen backstage with Tim’s mother and Yo-Yo Ma.

Tim and Sally Petersen are long-time supporters of the Arts and UMS. Tim has been on the UMS board since 2013 and became Board Chair in 2019. Tim and Sally have been generous supporters of our more adventurous programming and most recently sponsored our production of Some Old Black Man. In his interview, Tim discusses an interesting first year as Board Chair and why he sees the importance of supporting and creating art during these challenging times.

Tell us a little about your background with the arts: Musical talents? First performing arts experience? Did you grow up with the arts or come to them as an adult?

While I was fortunate to be exposed to the arts as a child (and was not a bad piano player!), it was not an overriding element of my childhood – I was busy playing every sport I could!  At the same time, I had enough exposure so that there were no barriers to becoming much more engaged as an adult.  One of the things we’ve done right as parents was to expose our two kids as well – through participation as well as travel tied to artistic experiences.


When and how were you inspired to first become involved with UMS?

While Sally and I had occasionally attended UMS performances since moving to Ann Arbor in 1996, we became much more engaged when I was asked to join the board in 2013. I joined the board for three reasons – (1) the overall reputation and excellence of the organization was an obvious draw, (2) I thought I could contribute in a way that was additive rather than redundant, and (3) a bit selfishly, I was interested in the “arts education” I would receive through my involvement.


Please share your favorite UMS performance or memory?

We have jumped in with both feet over the past decade, and really sampled all that UMS has to offer, which in turn has led to many memorable experiences. Answering the question directly is not difficult, however, as one moment really stands out: the fall 2014 performance of Kiss and Cry. I’m not sure I will even try to explain it, other than to call it experimental theatre that hits all the right notes – entertaining, enthralling, and thought-provoking. A shout out to Michael Kondziolka for cajoling me to attend! Experimental theatre has enriched our lives and has become a focus of our giving to UMS.


UMS’s motto is “Be Present,” but during these times we hope our community “Stays Present” until we can safely return to our normal programming.  How are you Staying Present with the arts?

UMS has done a great job ‘pushing the envelope’ in terms of its digital programming – the production value of the December 2020 Wynton Marsalis holiday concert is one good example. Really beautifully set and recorded, a far different experience than simply watching a ‘recorded concert.’ We have also had the opportunity to visit the incredible modern art museum (MassMoca) near our place in Western Massachusetts on a couple of occasions. The spaces are so large that it can be safely experienced during the pandemic and is another way we have “stayed present” with the Arts.


From opening the season with a sold-out live orchestra performance of Amadeus to an unforeseen early end to the season, this must have been an interesting first year as Board Chair for UMS. As Board Chair, what has been your main takeaway in terms of continuing to support and show up for the arts in our community during this moment?

It has been extremely gratifying to see the intensity and consistency of support for UMS during these incredibly difficult times. All of our constituencies – patrons, donors, artists – have remained active by continuing to participate in digital programming, donating, and enthusiastically working with us in completely new and different ways. Even more gratifying has been to see the UMS staff, under Matthew’s leadership, step up in such impressive ways during a period of time that has placed us all under such enormous stress. I cannot thank the UMS team enough.


You and your wife, Sally, were one of the first sponsors to step up and support our Digital Artist Residencies, specifically our production of Some Old Black Man with Wendell Pierce. What was it about this project that inspired you to make such a generous gift to help launch this endeavor for UMS?

It was a combination of a couple of factors. First, a deep appreciation for the excellence and breadth of Wendell’s work through the years combined with his genuine enthusiasm for working with UMS in general and on this project in particular. (Am I an unabashed fan of The Wire in general and “Bunk” in particular? That would be Yes!) Second, from being close to UMS’s careful planning, I knew that this project could serve as a model for executing creative work in these incredibly challenging times. In other words, it would not just be about the work itself but how similar productions could be created safely.

Love great music, theater, and dance?

Love great music, theater, and dance?

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