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Q&A: Our Choice to Support a World-Class Orchestra

Jack and Darby Ashelman

Jack and Darby Ashelman

Ever since moving to the Cleveland area in 2006, Jack and Darby Ashelman have immersed themselves in everything The Cleveland Orchestra has to offer. They subscribe to both the Severance and Blossom seasons, contribute to the Orchestra's annual fund, and have established several charitable gift annuities (CGAs) that will support the Orchestra while providing Jack and Darby with income for life.

Q: Why is The Cleveland Orchestra important to you?
Darby: We feel that The Cleveland Orchestra is the crown jewel of Northern Ohio. Prior to moving to the Cleveland area, we had lived in Chicago, Los Angeles, and Miami. We had the good fortune to choose anywhere in the country to live and we chose the Cleveland area. The ability to hear this wonderful orchestra on a regular basis was a significant factor in our choice to move here. We've attended classical music performances in a number of locations around the country and internationally, and feel that Severance Hall is the premier venue to hear classical music.

Q: What inspires your generous giving to the Orchestra?
Jack: We have contributed to the Orchestra's annual fund every year and have established several charitable gift annuities, and we plan to continue giving in this manner in the future. Our joy in supporting this institution, both now and in the future, reflects our belief that The Cleveland Orchestra is a treasure that is vital to our community. We remind our friends who are Cleveland sports fans that the No. 1 team in Northeast Ohio is the group of musicians of The Cleveland Orchestra.

Q: Do you have any favorite memories of your Cleveland Orchestra experiences?
Jack: A few years ago we attended Cleveland Orchestra concerts in Europe. In Munich, during the intermission, I stepped outside and was conversing with a woman from Munich. She asked where I was from in the United States and I said, "Cleveland, Ohio." She then said, "Oh, I envy you so much that you can hear this wonderful orchestra whenever you want." I will long remember that comment—it is representative of how the Orchestra is viewed around the world.

Q: What insights or advice would you share with someone considering a planned gift to The Cleveland Orchestra?
Darby: The wonderful thing about making a planned gift to The Cleveland Orchestra is the multiplying effect of such a gift. It benefits the Orchestra today and in the future by ensuring that future generations will continue to enjoy beautiful and sophisticated music. It also helps to ensure the significance of our community in the eyes of the nation.

We recently saw Hamilton and were struck by how important service and legacy were to the main characters. Our planned gifts are our way of giving a part of ourselves and doing our share to help secure a successful future for The Cleveland Orchestra.

Support World-Class Music For Future Generations

Joining the Ashelmans in their support for The Cleveland Orchestra is easy. Contact Dave Stokley, JD at 216-231-8006 or dstokley@clevelandorchestra.com to learn the many ways available.