A very unique donation was recently made by a couple who are new to the area and also to the Philharmonic Association. After a life of music performance and teaching, Philip Kates and Deborah Schwartz-Kates, have moved to North Carolina from Miami.  So how did this couple come to donate to the Philharmonic Association?

At a recent event launching the Quintet Giving Circle, Mr. Kates explained that he believed the future of classical music is in educating young people. When he and Deborah wanted to honor Todd Wetherwax, a dear friend and student, the Kates looked for a local youth music education organization. The Kates just happen to move to the same active retirement community as Steve Hodges, the Past President of our Board of Directors. Steve introduced them to the Philharmonic Association and the opportunities for young musicians that we offer.  

Todd Wetherwax was one of those rare students with talent, passion, and a strong work ethic. Professor Kates enjoyed teaching him the oboe, but Todd also excelled at many instruments. When he married, Kay, also an oboist, he was able to play clarinet in a woodwind quintet with her.

Professors Kates, and 22 other attendees, were treated to an introduction to the Triangle Youth Philharmonic Woodwind Quintet on October 27, in The Triangle Youth Music Center. Emily Qiu, flute; Noa Weinreb, oboe; Isabelle Lee, clarinet; Ryan Gibson, bassoon, and Aiden McCoy, horn treated us to pieces by Gershwin, Agay, and Abreu. Margaret Partridge gave a presentation showing the activities of the Quintet over the past decade, emphasizing the extensive community outreach and education they had provided the public.

It was announced that the Kates would begin a fund to endow the oboe chair in the TYP Woodwind Quintet and the chair would be named the Todd Wetherwax Oboe Chair, in honor of their beloved student and friend.

The Philharmonic Association is so grateful for this donation and for people like Deborah Schwartz Kates and Philip Kates whose passion for youth music education helps make it possible for organizations like ours to continue providing musical opportunities for youth.  With the Todd Wetherwax Oboe Chair, the legacy of this passionate musician and the important work done by our longstanding Triangle Youth Philharmonic Woodwind Quintet will be honored forever. 

Funding the Todd Wetherwax Oboe Chair is the first project of the Quintet Giving Circle. Anyone interested in supporting this project may contact Executive Director, Margaret Partridge, at 919-645-8434 or executive@philharmonic-association.or