Donor Stories

/Donor Stories

Ron and Donna Patton

By | December 22nd, 2016|Categories: Donor Stories|

“Nothing Else Quite Like It”

Cincinnati natives Ron and Donna Patton both attended Young People’s Concerts of the Cincinnati Symphony when children, but they didn’t meet until Ron was a freshman at the University of Cincinnati and Donna was a junior in high school. Donna has played piano and organ for many years and has sung in and accompanied her church and high school choirs. Ron was a college radio announcer and recording engineer who often recorded the Cincinnati Symphony for distribution to public radio stations across the country.

The Pattons moved to Kansas City in 1973. They immediately became subscribers to what was then the Kansas City Philharmonic and soon the Kansas City Symphony. They are long-time donors and have gradually increased their giving so that they are now annual concert sponsors, donors to the Masterpiece Campaign, and will leave a legacy gift to the Symphony as members of the Sempre Society.

Donna, a financial advisor with Principal Financial Group, advertises regularly in the Symphony program book. Ron, an ordained minister who received his doctorate from San Francisco Theological Seminary, serves as media production coordinator at Village Presbyterian Church. They have two grown sons: Kirk and his wife Terra, who accompany Ron and Donna to the Symphony; and Andy, who lives in Minnesota with his family.

“We can hear quality classical music performances from around the world with Internet radio in our home, satellite radio in our cars, CDs and downloaded files on our computers. But at Kansas City Symphony concerts we can watch the musicians and soloists interact with Michael Stern, live, and be in an audience of other music lovers. There is nothing else quite like it.”

Mary Davidson

By | December 22nd, 2016|Categories: Donor Stories|

“Whatever I Can Do to Make Kansas City a Better Place”

 As a third-generation Kansas Citian, Masterpiece Campaign donor Dr. Mary Davidson is passionately committed to supporting what makes this city great.

“The healthier Kansas City is, the healthier we all are,” she said in the living room of her elegant and art-filled Leawood home. “Whatever I can do to make Kansas City a better place, I do.”

Through the Barton P. and Mary D. Cohen Charitable Trust, Mary supports organizations as different as the National World War I Museum, whose board she chairs; the Children’s Campus of Kansas City, Kansas; Freedom’s Frontier National Heritage Area; and Johnson County Community College. She also served as the chair of the Board of Visitors for the United States Coast Guard Academy, appointed by Senator Bob Dole. Among the arts, “the Symphony is number one.”

“Taking care of the Symphony helps to take care of all the organizations – including the Kansas City Ballet and the Lyric Opera – because the Symphony plays for those performances. And the concerts instill the spirit of giving in everyone. How fortunate we are to have [Symphony Music Director] Michael Stern. He continues to reenergize the orchestra. As he expects from them, they deliver.”

Mary now runs the charitable fund established after her husband, banker Barton Cohen, passed away in 2006. In addition to raising her son, now an attorney living in California, Mary has worked as a science educator, teaching on television for Kansas City schools, for 18 years was the Assistant Vice-Chancellor for Academic Affairs at the University of Kansas, and was the secretary’s regional representative for the United States Department of Education. She now hosts “It’s Our Community,” a weekly television program for Johnson County Community College.

“I love to support the amenities that make our community interesting, strong, and make people want to live here,” she said. And the Kansas City Symphony is tremendously grateful for her ongoing and very generous support.

Ted and Kim Higgins

By | December 22nd, 2016|Categories: Donor Stories|

“We believe that the Kansas City Symphony is an essential source of cultural enrichment and civic pride,” say Masterpiece Campaign donors Ted and Kim Higgins.

Subscribers to the Bravo series, the Higginses grew up in homes filled with classical music, opera, show tunes and jazz. Ted was raised in central New York, and remembers occasional cultural trips to New York City. Now a general and vascular surgeon, he always listens to music in the operating room. A native of Kansas City and a teacher at the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art, Kim recalls school trips to see the Kansas City Philharmonic.

When they settled in Kansas City as adults, subscribing to the Symphony seemed to them a good way to “support local culture and to guarantee an occasional relaxing night out.” They absolutely love the Symphony’s Classical Series, but have also enjoyed the sheer variety of concert experiences that the Symphony has to offer, attending Bank of America Celebration at the Station, Symphony in the Flint Hills, Family and Pops Series concerts and the Screenland at Symphony film concerts.

Ted and Kim also make it a priority to support the Kansas City Symphony philanthropically, both through annual donations and their commitment to the Masterpiece Campaign. “We understand that the Symphony does not survive on ticket sales alone,” they explain. “We want to support musicians whose contribution is as valuable to society as that of highly-paid athletes.”

Donating to the Sympohny also enhances their entire experience of the Symphony. “It’s always nice to mingle with other Symphony patrons and some of the musicians in the Sprint Reception Suite.” Most importantly, though, supporting the Kansas City Symphony “feels good and it sounds even better!”

Harvey Bodker

By | December 22nd, 2016|Categories: Donor Stories|

“I feel that the Kansas City Symphony is one of the ‘crown jewels’ in Kansas City’s performing arts scene,” says Harvey Bodker, a commercial real estate broker and Masterpiece Campaign donor.

A Kansas City native, Harvey got “involved” with symphonic music as a grade-schooler at J.C. Nichols School. “We went to our first young people’s concert on a typical yellow school bus. The conductor explained the role of each instrument in the orchestra and they played a few selections.” He has enjoyed classical music ever since.

As “young marrieds,” Harvey and his late wife, Beverly, enjoyed nights out at the then Kansas City Philharmonic. “It was one of the first philanthropies that we knew we should support, and our level of giving increased as we went along.” The Bodkers’ increased giving continued with the Kansas City Symphony, and Harvey notes, “we were very proud when we reached the Symphony Society level because it meant that we were doing our ‘fair share’ to support this fine orchestra.”

Harvey’s favorite symphony experience is when he had the opportunity to conduct in 1996. “Beverly was the successful bidder on that item in the radiothon, the annual fundraiser for the Symphony back in those days. She surprised me with it for a special birthday. I worked with Maestro Bill McGlaughlin and we decided that I would conduct ‘Toreador’ from Carmen!”

For Harvey, connection and community are at the heart of the Symphony. “The Kansas City Symphony paints with a ‘broad brush’ — whether it is classical, pops, jazz, or a youth concert, there is something for everyone. Those who came before us gave much to provide us with the Symphony we have today. Now, our charitable giving is essential to keep our ‘crown jewel’ thriving.”

David T. Beals III Trust, Bank of America, N.A., Trustee

By | December 22nd, 2016|Categories: Donor Stories|

The Kansas City Symphony received a $2.7 million donation from the remainder of the David T. Beals III Trust, Bank of America, N.A., Trustee, to endow the assistant conductor position, henceforth named the David T. Beals III Chair. This generous gift helps the Symphony sustain its remarkable success, secure its financial future and ensure its ability to serve the Kansas City community with world-class symphonic music.

A lifelong resident of Kansas City and devoted patron of the arts, Beals created the trust in 1982 — the same year the Symphony was founded. The gift is an expression of Beals’ unwavering belief in the importance of the arts in Kansas City.

The David T. Beals III Assistant Conductor is an important and influential role at the Symphony, leading all pops, family, holiday, special and Classics Uncorked concerts each season. Additionally, the assistant conductor helps design the Symphony’s education programs and conducts the orchestra for many prominent community events.

Symphony Executive Director Frank Byrne noted, “We are extraordinarily grateful to the David T. Beals Trust and Bank of America for their investment in our organization. This will help the Symphony fulfill our essential role in bringing great artistic performances to the city.”