Why We Give, Part II

by Wajeeh Khan & Tyler M. Secor

From full concerts at Music Hall to small pop-up performances in local neighborhoods and everything in between, our generous and dedicated donors, sponsors and concertgoers make it all possible. This series shares the special stories behind why our donors give to the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra and Cincinnati Pops. As you will read, each reason is different, but their passion for this Orchestra is a constant. Our donors and their inspiring stories will ensure that the unique sound of the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra and Cincinnati Pops will always resound.

You can join our family of donors online at cincinnatisymphony.org/donate or by contacting the Philanthropy Department at 513.744.3271.


Longtime CSO donors Joe and Trish Baker first met while they were both enrolled in undergraduate programs at Purdue University, with Joe being a Cincinnati native and Trish being from Chicago, Illinois. Since meeting in university, Joe and Trish have lived together in Cincinnati for over 40 years, with the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra being a consistent element of their time spent here.

Joe first saw the CSO when he was in grade school. “I was in elementary school, going on the bus as a part of a school trip. As soon as we stepped off of the bus, I remember being absolutely awestruck by the grand beauty of Music Hall—it’s such a magnificent building,” said Joe. “It was also my first time seeing a musical production of orchestral nature. It was very memorable, to say the least.”

Even though Joe’s first time at Music Hall was very impactful and noteworthy, Joe didn’t really have a change in his experience of classical music until he was a young adult.

“My father was such a big fan of the Symphony, and he loved orchestral music,” reflected Joe. “In my late 30s, I became strongly influenced by my father to really pay attention to classical music, and subsequently, what the CSO was doing. Mom and dad were regular subscribers, and seeing how much they enjoyed the CSO together set the stage for Trish and I doing the same.”

Trish echoed this sentiment, as she had a similar experience of being deeply moved by the experience the CSO offers, after not having much initial awareness.

“Initially, when we went, I didn’t really listen to or care for classical music at all,” said Trish. “But after a few concerts, I learned to enjoy and appreciate the unbelievable and fantastic musicians and conductors, and the whole experience that the CSO had to offer.”

Over time, Joe and Trish began attending more concerts, eventually culminating in both of them becoming regular season subscribers. For both of them, there were a plethora of reasons that kept them coming back.

“The music and the musicians, first and foremost, are the main attraction,” revealed Trish. “They are all so talented—and when you combine the wonderful music with the professionalism, the conductors, the special guests and, of course, the experience of having a night out—all of that keeps us coming back. It’s a lot of fun to dress up a bit, go out to dinner, and to have some friends come and experience some great art with you.”

As Joe and Trish kept coming back to see the CSO, they developed the desire to try and share that experience with other members of the community, prompting them to take their relationship with the Orchestra to the next level.

“Gradually, as we kept coming back to Music Hall, we realized the importance of everything that took place here. All of the great local musicians, the absolutely wonderful music, and the artistic experience as a whole really inspired us,” said Joe. “It’s very important to try and push the experience as a whole out to as many people as possible—Music Hall is a staple of Cincinnati, and the community should be encouraged to go and experience that. So, by giving to the CSO, we felt that we were truly giving back to our community.”