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Q&A: Why It's Never Too Early to Plan Your Legacy

Steve Norris and Emily Gonzales

Steve Norris and Emily Gonzales

Steve Norris and Emily Gonzales have found many ways to get involved and increase their impact on The Cleveland Orchestra's future. They are actively engaged members of The Circle, the Orchestra's young professionals group, and have made plans for the future by including the Orchestra in their estate plan, becoming the youngest members of the Heritage Society.

Q: What does The Cleveland Orchestra's historic 100th season mean to you as young professionals, Cleveland residents, and donors?
Steve: Cleveland has exceptionally good arts organizations for its size, and there's the hometown pride of world-class music. The Orchestra's centennial season is a wonderful milestone. As a donor, the centennial means joining a long history of supporting excellence. As a young professional, it means having an exciting new season to enjoy with friends.

Q: What are your earliest memories of The Cleveland Orchestra? What did you feel when you first saw Severance Hall and first heard the Orchestra perform?
Emily: My first memories were seeing the Orchestra when I visited Steve after college, especially Blossom in the summers. I was amazed at how beautiful Severance Hall is—it's perfectly put together.

Q: What initially drew you to be involved with and to support The Cleveland Orchestra?
Steve: Exceptional classical musical performances and the hometown pride of having such an amazing organization as a cultural ambassador. After college, I ushered at Severance Hall for 12 years. With education outreach, a growing young professionals group, and under 18s free at Blossom, the Orchestra is building the next audience.

Emily: The quality of the Orchestra spoils others for you.

Q: How do you envision your legacy gift making an impact on the Orchestra and your life? What inspired you to make your legacy gift and how is it meaningful to you?
Steve: Having a strong endowment is important for sustained excellence in the arts. We're proud to add a small part to Cleveland's long history of philanthropy. Hopefully our story encourages others to give so this Cleveland gem will be around to enjoy for another century.

The arts have always been very important to Emily and me as a couple. We enjoy going to concerts and the theater for dates. We took music classes together in college where we met. Music is an important part of our love story, and we want it to be part of our legacy.

Q: What insights or advice would you share with someone considering a planned gift to The Cleveland Orchestra?
Steve: None of your estate will go to charity or the arts unless you specify it. Find time and a way to talk to your family about what's important to you. My mom and I bonded sharing what we enjoyed about music.

Emily: Building relationships is important, including when beneficiaries are organizations. So if the arts have been an important part of your life, make it a part of how you're remembered too.

Create a Legacy by Planning For the Future

Want to learn more about the many ways you can leave a legacy at The Cleveland Orchestra? Contact Katie Shames at 216-231-8006 or kshames@clevelandorchestra.com to get started.