This story first appeared in the Fall 2022 edition of The Score.

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The MSO is excited to announce a wonderful endowment gift from donors Patricia Kokotailo and R. Lawrence DeRoo to endow and name a prominent position in the orchestra, Assistant Principal Cello: The Patricia Kokotailo and R. Lawrence DeRoo Chair. Their gift becomes part of the MSO’s permanent endowment, held by the Madison Symphony Orchestra Foundation, and will provide annual support to offset the personnel expenses of this position. The Assistant Principal Cello chair is currently held by cellist Mark Bridges.

While neither Pat nor Larry have a specific connection with the cello, orchestral music has been a part of their lives for many years. Growing up in the Philadelphia area, Pat attended young people’s concerts and other programming by the Philadelphia Orchestra. While pursuing her education and early career, she attended concerts by the Baltimore Symphony and Chicago Symphony Orchestras. Larry was raised outside of Chicago, and discovered symphonic music a bit later than Pat. “I took music appreciation in college, and then I started attending concerts by the Chicago Symphony Orchestra and other visiting orchestras who performed in Chicago,” he explains.

Pat and Larry have attended MSO concerts since 1989 and have been season subscribers since the opening of Overture Hall in 2004. Pat shares, “We knew we wanted to attend concerts, but because we were both pretty busy with our careers, we started out buying occasional concerts one at a time. Sometimes, at the end of a long week and despite our best intentions, we’d forget to go or we’d decide we were too tired! When Overture Hall opened, we decided to become subscribers. That way, the concerts were fixed on the schedule and we could better plan for them.”

“Over the years we’ve been attending Madison Symphony concerts, we’ve loved hearing some of the same world-famous guest artists, such as Emanuel Ax, whom we’d heard perform with other orchestras. We also love hearing the younger, up and coming guest artists, many of whom have returned more than once to perform with the Madison Symphony in the years we’ve been attending.” Pat adds.

As longtime subscribers and annual donors, Pat and Larry recently decided they wanted to do something to help support the Madison Symphony Orchestra’s future. “We feel it is important to do what we can to support the Orchestra and help ensure its long-term health in our community,” Larry says. “The opportunity to make an endowment gift and name a chair is a perfect way for us to do that, and we think we’ll feel an even more personal connection to the orchestra each time we attend a concert.”

Pat is retired from the UW–Madison Department of Pediatrics, and Larry is retired from a career in nonprofit management. They have enjoyed having more leisure time for travel, gardening, and other pursuits. Please join us in thanking Pat and Larry for their generous endowment gift!

Several prominent positions in the orchestra are available for naming, as well as numerous section chairs. To learn more about endowment naming opportunities and requirements, visit madisonsymphony.org/endowment or contact Director of Development, Casey Oelkers, at coelkers@madisonsymphony.org or (608) 260-8680 x228. All inquiries will be handled confidentially.

Casey Oelkers,
Director of Development