Letter from the Board Vice President

Dear Friends,

I wanted to share some thoughts about the wonderful programming that our organization is offering this fall, and to thank all our inspiring supporters for helping us to continue offering quality concerts during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

As an Indigenous person myself, I was thrilled with our first concert of the season, Joy & Sorrow Across the Waters, which included Native American flute and storytelling by Paul Chiyokten Wagner (Saanich). It was personally meaningful to see a Native American voice included in one of our concerts. If you have not watched it yet, I encourage you to view it on our YouTube channel. We will soon be sharing two additional stories recorded by Chiyokten (Slahal and Whale Story) in celebration of Indigenous People’s Month.

This Sunday, November 14, I also invite you to join us for the online concert premiere of Mozart & the Genius of Love featuring Rachell Ellen Wong on violin and Susan Gulkis Assadi on viola, accompanied by Byron Schenkman on piano. As with all our digital concert offerings, you will also be able to view this concert afterwards on our YouTube channel. This promises to be a lovely and exciting program!

I am incredibly proud of the work that our board and volunteers have been doing to carry out our beloved Artistic Director’s vision for increasing the diversity of programs we present, and of the performers we bring to the stage. Promoting musical compositions and performances by people who have been historically marginalized and excluded from the traditional classical music canon allows us to not only share new experiences with our audiences, but it also offers additional context to better understand and enjoy the historical favorites we play by celebrated classical composers.

Like me, I am sure that many of you are excited about the possibility of returning to in-person concert performances in the spring of 2022 for the remainder of our current season. I also want to acknowledge the many new audience members we have gained since pivoting to an online format last season. When we do return to live performances, it is our hope that we will be able to continue offering some online content for all our friends who are unable to join us in-person. We will make sure to keep you updated as these decisions are finalized.

Last, it was very important to Byron Schenkman & Friends that we make our online concerts available to the public for no charge, and we deeply appreciate all the financial support that we have received from both old and new audience members. As a small music non-profit without an active endowment, your gifts—of all sizes—have helped keep us afloat. The loss of revenue from ticket sales has been a serious challenge, and the cost of producing a high-quality digital concert is comparable to that of a live performance. I offer my sincere thanks for your continued generosity. We could not do this without you!


Fox Spears (Karuk)

Board Vice President