Jack and Colleen Holmbeck

What inspires your love of music?

I [Colleen] grew up in a family that wasn’t interested in classical music but somehow I have loved it as long as I can remember. The first classical music I heard was background music in children’s cartoon films — and later in movies (much later I learned that the music in the film “The Outlaw” was from Tchaikovsky’s Pathétique Symphony.) Then a grade school music teacher suggested that we listen to Norman Ross’s classical music program on the radio, and that was my introduction to so much of the music that I’ve loved all my life.

What initially drew you to the CSO?

When I was in college, a friend took me to a CSO concert — my first time to hear one of the greatest orchestras in the world. Years earlier I had walked all the way downtown in Rockford to try to hear the Philadelphia Orchestra, thinking innocently there would be a free ticket. But there wasn’t, so I walked home. By the early 1960s I was married and could afford a CSO ticket in the balcony and eventually a season ticket. My husband came sometimes but he was building his career. Now we have significant funds in our estate for later distribution to the CSO and other non-profit organizations.

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

I know that arts groups are facing growing concerns about their futures. Many people in our country have chosen far different music sources, and audiences in many places are down. We are proud to be a part of this group of people who want the CSO to have a sustainable future. Maybe there are other kids out there like me who will discover classical music and who want to find the highest quality orchestra as well.

Mary Lou Gorno
Chair of the CSOA Board of Trustees & the Theodore Thomas Society
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Richard and Elynne Aleskow
Theodore Thomas Society members
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Neal Ball
Theodore Thomas Society member
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