Charles and Carol Emmons

What inspires your love of music?

Our lives have always centered around music. From the ages of 8-13, Charles sang in boy choirs; then in junior high, he joined the band playing oboe. Carol was already a clarinet player in junior high band, so that is where and when we met. Charles majored in music, receiving his degrees from Meadows School of the Arts at SMU in Dallas. Carol began attending concerts and recitals before we were married. After leaving Texas, Charles taught instrumental music, and Carol says she has never missed a concert. We spent 30 summers working at Interlochen Center for the Arts and have made many friendships through music.

We have always attended concerts: from the Dallas Symphony Orchestra in high school and college to the symphony in Wichita, where we both taught in the same high school. After our move to Chicago, we began attending Chicago Symphony Orchestra concerts in the 1978-79 season.

Because of emotional, intellectual and inspirational feelings evolving from listening to and performing music, our lives are fulfilled with wondrous sounds.

What initially drew you to the CSO?

Coming to Chicago to teach orchestral music to young people made attending CSO concerts a natural fit! I had several recordings of the CSO in my collection (one of my favorites as a high school student was Pictures from an Exhibition), so we were eager to hear this great orchestra “live and in person!” The opportunity to see musicians I had read about in articles and books and listened to on recordings was a dream come true. Of course, as a high school teacher, I felt attending CSO concerts was important to set an example for my students and more importantly to help me do what I called “keeping my ears clean!”

Why do you feel it’s important to support the CSOA as a member of the Theodore Thomas Society?

We believe leaving to cherished institutions whatever financial resources you have remaining, after remembering your family, is one of the best ways to “pay it forward.” It is our dream that a gift from our estate will help bring awareness of music to the lives of others in the greater Chicago community. Let music ring!

Gene Kraus
Theodore Thomas Society member
Explore more
Martha Bell
Theodore Thomas Society member
Explore more
Marlene Bach
Theodore Thomas Society member
Explore more
Support your orchestra
Give today