The Madison Symphony Orchestra is thrilled to announce a generous gift from Claudia Berry Miran to endow and name the Claudia Berry and David E. Miran Chorus Director Chair!
If you have attended the MSO’s Christmas concerts, your life has been touched by Claudia Berry Miran, whether you know it or not. A member of the Madison Symphony Chorus soprano section since 1975, Claudia produced the booklet of carols from which the chorus members sing a cappella in the Overture lobby prior to each performance. Claudia’s affiliation with the all-volunteer Madison Symphony Chorus has been a constant source of musical fellowship that helped her celebrate the births of her three children and supported her through the loss of her beloved husband, David E. Miran, who passed away in 2013.
Claudia and David came to Madison in 1969 to pursue graduate programs at UW and met while volunteering for the TGIF parties at the Wisconsin Union Grad Club. David joined the Hoofers Sailing Club and became an avid sailor. “He was skipper and I was crew,” says Claudia.
Claudia became an attorney and worked for various state agencies throughout her career. David, a computer scientist, retired as deputy director of the Wisconsin State Laboratory of Hygiene’s Division of Information Technology. David was always very supportive of Claudia’s chorus commitments, which require weekly Tuesday rehearsals and many additional rehearsals and performances during concert weeks. “David enjoyed listening to the chorus. He said it helped him appreciate good music,” Claudia says. In time, Claudia and David became MSO subscribers and annual donors.
Claudia recalls three distinct memories from her time in the chorus related to her pregnancies.
“When I joined the chorus in December 1975, I was pregnant with my oldest son, Sean. I was so big that my section leader took one look at me and put me on the end of the row!” recalls Claudia.
“Then, I had to miss the Christmas concert in 1979 because the chorus was required to stand for the entire concert, and I just couldn’t do that because my son, Douglas, was due very soon afterwards.”
When chorus rehearsals started in late August of 1984, chorus manager Ann Stanke said to a very pregnant Claudia, “Go home, you make me nervous!” The Mirans’ daughter, Sonya, was born just a few days later, in early September.
Claudia has many other fond memories of singing in the Madison Symphony Chorus. She remembers singing the Verdi Requiem under Roland Johnson when the bass drum player hit the drum so hard that it broke during the concert! Another highlight was going on tour to Germany in 2017.
About a year ago, Claudia was reading an article about endowment naming opportunities in MSO’s The Score magazine and she saw that Chorus Director was available. “I thought it would be a really special thing to do,” says Claudia. “After discussing it with my family, with Casey Oelkers in the development office, and with my financial advisor, I decided to make this gift.”
“I was absolutely thrilled to learn of Claudia’s generous gift to endow the Madison Symphony Chorus Directorship,” says Beverly Taylor, Director of the Chorus since 1996. “Claudia has been a loyal member of the second sopranos for 49 years(!) and traveled with us six years ago to Germany where we performed the Brahms German Requiem with local forces in Freiburg, Ottobeuren and Leipzig. She also is the member who prepared and set our Carol Book which we use leading our carol sing before every MSO holiday concert. We are so thankful for her generosity, and her endowment will cement her legacy with the Chorus. I am very honored to hold the Claudia Berry and David E. Miran Chorus Director Chair.”
Claudia plans to sing with the MSO Chorus for as long as she can. “I definitely want to make it to my 50th year, which will coincide with the Symphony’s 100th Anniversary,” she says.
The Mirans’ endowment helps to ensure that the Madison Symphony Chorus will have outstanding artistic leadership for years to come. In addition to the endowment established during Claudia’s lifetime, she has also planned for a final legacy gift through her estate. We are pleased to welcome Claudia to the Century Society to recognize her extraordinary endowment commitment, and the Stradivarius Society, recognizing her planned giving intent.
Please join us in thanking Claudia for her wonderfully generous gift! To learn more about endowment naming opportunities, including section chairs, principal chairs, artistic staff positions, and education programs, please contact Casey Oelkers, Director of Development, at (608) 260-8680 x228 or visit madisonsymphony.org/endowchair.