Jared Kaplan and Maridee Quanbeck

Barbara Levin

Jared Kaplan and Maridee Quanbeck have been attending the CSO for over forty years as subscribers and are members of the Theodore Thomas Society. Jerry, who has been a Governing Member (GM) for eleven years, currently serves as the GM Chairman. He previously served as Vice Chair of the Nominations and Membership Committee in the 2012–13 & 2013–14 seasons. Recently retired, Jerry and Maridee enjoy traveling, attending the symphony, and catching a play in Chicago or the West End.

What inspires your love of music?
JARED KAPLAN: My father was a very accomplished pianist who would practice four or five hours a day, even though he was a practicing lawyer; I can’t figure out how he found the time. I was inspired by him and played the piano, but quit when I graduated law school. MARIDEE QUANBECK: In fact, we’ve been married twenty-seven years, and I haven’t heard him play the piano once. When he says he gave it up, he means it! When it came to me, I decided not to play piano. I saw my older sister practice, and it seemed like the worst thing in the world. My parents always sang in the church choir, so I grew up with a lot of church music, Bach and Handel, but not a lot of symphonic music. It wasn’t until I met Jerry that I went to my first symphony.

Do you have a first memory of attending the Chicago Symphony Orchestra? JK: I feel like I’ve attended all my life. When I graduated law school, I started subscribing immediately. My father used to have seats up front on the left side. He’d go whenever there was a piano soloist and follow the score. MQ: When I met Jerry, he had two subscriptions. We would go all the time.

How did you first get involved as a Governing Member?
JK: One of my former partners, Tom Campbell, was Vice Chair of Nominations and Membership. He asked why I wasn’t a Governing Member (GM). I asked “What’s that?” He explained it to me, and so I joined. MQ: Once Jerry joined the GMs, it really expanded our contact with the symphony. Up until then, I was just an audience member. The last eleven years have been a lot more fulfilling as a patron. We always know people at Symphony Center. It’s expanded my contact with and enthusiasm for the organization.

Tell us about the Patrons Tours you’ve participated in.
JK: We’ve been on three tours. The first one we went on was to New York, followed by a tour to Poland, Switzerland, and Paris, and most recently we went on the tour to the Canary Islands. While the Canary Islands and Paris sound like exotic places, a high point for us was that first performance at Carnegie Hall in New York. Before the Orchestra even began playing, there was a lengthy standing ovation when Maestro Muti took the stage. That’s when we realized what his joining the Orchestra meant to the musicians, and even to that New York audience. MQ: On tours we have lots of contact with the musicians. They go on sightseeing tours with us and have dinner with us. You see them in different settings. Those were really fun things to do. What makes the tours extra memorable is getting up close and personal with the musicians.

What inspires you to continue supporting the CSO?
JK: It never occurred to me not to subscribe to the symphony. The eleven years that I’ve been a GM have really given us an added dimension. We’re now interacting with the Orchestra from the inside rather than the outside. It’s a different feeling every time we go to a concert. We really feel like part of the CSO family. It’s a big difference. When we see the musicians onstage, they’re real people we’ve seen at dinners or other events. It gives us a greater depth of appreciation for the symphony. MQ: As you get more involved, you realize the CSO is a major cultural institution in the city of Chicago. It’s the brightest light that we have in this city for culture. We just have to support it. What would we do without it?

Do you have any advice for those looking to get more involved at the CSO?
JK: Join the GMs and actively participate in the events! GMs get a lot more out of their membership than the donor groups of a lot of other organizations. You get great events, VIP ticketing, membership in the Thomas Club, postconcert receptions, patron tours, and interactive intermissions. There’s a lot happening on a constant basis. It’s a terrific value. If you’re willing to participate, you’ll get a lot out of it.