The Trees planted their roots in Southwest Florida the first time in the early 1980s when they bought a condo on Marco Island. But work and their daughter’s education got in the way of spending any serious time in the area. So they returned to Chicago for nearly two decades. Still, they missed the warm weather and relaxed atmosphere. When George retired in the early 2000s, they decided to give the area another try.
Since then, they’ve been avid supporters of the Naples Philharmonic and specifically principal tuba Aaron McCalla, whose chair they underwrite.
“We believe in supporting the arts in a community is one of the most important commitments one can make to improve the quality of life in one’s hometown,” George says. “We are fortunate to have an organization such as Artis—Naples that brings to us visual, performing and musical arts in one package.”
The couple says they have formed a good bond with Aaron over the years, despite only having a few interactions each season. But they aren’t looking for specific recognition of their gifts, even if they do feel a sense of pride when Aaron is featured in a concert they attend.
“We’re sure there are many reasons people have for underwriting musicians at Artis—Naples: the pleasure of supporting an important community resource, freeing up dollars for other important work, getting your name ‘in lights,’ or participating with other donors in special activities,” George says. “All of those are important, but for us, I believe the most important thing is simply that hopefully Aaron and the other underwritten musicians feel that they are appreciated for what they give to us. Who wouldn't feel good about supporting these wonderful musicians and encouraging them to remain in the Artis—Naples community?”
The couple also hopes their contributions can help continue Artis—Naples’ mission of introducing children to a variety of artistic experiences.
“Unfortunately, funding and support in primary and secondary schools for cultural activities and learning is under severe budget pressures and often seems to be a mere afterthought,” Barbara says. “Artis—Naples has done an admirable job in exposing young people to such activities and in providing opportunities for active participation in the arts.”
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Give to Artis—Naples