April 17, 2015



Portland Mayor Charlie Hales and President Scott Showalter
welcome the Gala Concert crowd.

(PORTLAND, Ore.) – Over 400 patrons gathered at last night’s record-setting Oregon Symphony Honors Gala, whose theme was “Music Creates Community.” Under the leadership of Honorary Gala Chair Jordan Schnitzer, Gala Co-Chair and Portland’s First Lady Nancy Hales, and Gala Co-Chair and Board Member Renée Holzman, donors contributed nearly $700,000 to support the symphony and its outreach programs.

Together with President Scott Showalter, Portland Mayor Charlie Hales opened an historic concert in the Arlene Schnitzer Concert Hall. For the first time, a classical program under the direction of Music Director Carlos Kalmar was made available exclusively and for free to thousands of the Oregon Symphony’s community partners.

A gala program followed over a four-course meal at the Portland Art Museum. It included Claire Coffee, star of NBC’s hit series Grimm, and her husband, four-time Grammy Award-winner Chris Thile. Claire, who is visibly close to giving birth, said that she and Chris want to raise their child in Portland precisely for the community that the Oregon Symphony creates. Chris added that he has performed as a soloist with orchestras across the country and few are as accomplished as the Oregon Symphony. “We’ve never needed the orchestra more than we do now,” he said.

Honorary Gala Chair Jordan Schnitzer and
Oregon Symphony President Scott Showalter onstage.

Jordan Schnitzer inaugurated an award in honor of his parents, Harold and Arlene Schnitzer. Dr. Bonnie Reagan, Founding Board President of BRAVO Youth Orchestras, was announced as its first recipient; the award came with a $10,000 prize. Dozens of BRAVO children had performed during the earlier concert in the hall, side-by-side with musicians of the Oregon Symphony. The gala program also included the debut of a video about the Oregon Symphony that was produced by Oregon Public Broadcasting and viewable now at OrSymphony.org.

At the end of the evening, RACC Executive Director Eloise Damrosch commented: “Given the financial challenges of the past five years it is wonderful that our incredibly resilient arts organizations are rebounding with great energy and excitement.”

Also in attendance were Thomas Lauderdale of Pink Martini; artists August, Melanie, Sophia, and Amanda Von Trapp; State Senator Ginny Burdick; Portland Public Schools Superintendent Carole Smith; and Ginette DePreist, wife of the late Oregon Symphony Music Director James DePreist.

The gala was capped with a performance by the Oregon State University drum line. The Madison High School Marching Band also performed outside before the gala.


Jim Fullan
Vice President/Communications, Marketing, Sales