John Hart and Carol Prins are philanthropic leaders in the city of Chicago. John has been a subscriber for fifty years. CSOA donors for more than thirty years, John, chairman of Hart Davis Hart Wine Co., has been a CSOA trustee since 2002 and a life trustee since 2014. Carol has been a governing member since 1990. They both are members of the Theodore Thomas Society, the CSOA’s planned giving society. Along with their support of the CSOA, John serves on the board of ChiArts, Steppenwolf Theatre, and Santa Fe Chamber Music Festival, and is a life trustee at Lincoln Park Zoo. Carol is the former board chair and a life trustee of the Goodman Theatre, board trustee of the Museum of Contemporary Art, former trustee of the Georgia O’Keeffe Museum, and an alumnae council member of the Chicago Foundation for Women. At the CSOA, their generosity has supported activities of the Orchestra, the Civic Orchestra of Chicago, and programs of the Negaunee Music Institute.
What role does music play in your everyday lives?
We find that wine and music connect very strongly in our lives. We’ve had the chance to meet some of the greatest musicians because of our interest in wine! The opportunity to meet these artists, the layers, personally, is such a privilege. The more access and understanding you have, the closer you feel to the art and the artists. As trustees and donors, we appreciate that opportunity. We’re so lucky to know many artists who share our passion for music education and programs that make music accessible to young people. We’re so fortunate to have great artists who understand the power of music in the lives of children.
What inspires your support of the Negaunee Music Institute?
The Institute raises awareness of the importance of music education, and ensures that all children have opportunities to access classical music. We want to get other people involved with the Institute and wish more people were aware of the good work they do. When you see how music can impact the lives of children and young people, it’s inspiring to see the difference music makes in their lives.
Are there any concerts you’re looking forward to next season?
Next season is going to be extraordinary. Hearing all five Beethoven piano concertos, performed by world-class soloists will be an exceptional experience. While we’ve heard each individual piece many times, we love the idea of hearing them all in one season. The CSO’s programming just gets better and better! The CSO is a legendary orchestra and attracts some of the greatest artists in the world.
What inspires your commitment to the Theodore Thomas Society?
Classical music is certainly one of our great loves in life and we support what the CSO is doing. To include it in one’s estate is a win-win situation— both for us, personally, and for the institution. I hope more people become aware of what the Society is and how to get involved. Putting the CSOA in your estate plan is an easy and meaningful thing to do.
How do you view the CSO as part of Chicago’s artistic landscape?
We are fortunate to be involved in some of the greatest cultural and arts institutions in the city. We experience the way these institutions bring people together to make great music, art, theatre, and dance. That unique collaboration works at such a high level in this city. We have a myriad of talent here. The CSO plays a strong role, especially in the music world here in Chicago. We get to see firsthand how young people are impacted by the great work of the Orchestra.