Extending a Lifetime of Music


three men playing trumpets

By the age of 5, Doris Fine could read music and play the upright piano at her home. She's grateful that although her family was not well off, her parents made music a priority. After Doris graduated from her local piano teacher, she made weekly trips to Boston from her home in Lowell, Massachusetts, to take lessons from a European-trained master teacher.

Doris attended college in Boston and completed a degree in music. She regrets that her own practice suffered during this time, but live music still filled her days. The Boston Symphony Orchestra sold discounted student tickets, and Doris made the most of the offer: "I could check out a score from the library, take it with me to the rear of the top balcony and follow along with great music. It was an extraordinary privilege." At other times, Doris was able to share the stage with the BSO. Back then, its chorus consisted of college women's glee clubs and men's choirs.

When Doris moved to San Francisco, she and her husband immediately subscribed to the San Francisco Symphony. Even while Doris was expecting, they continued to attend concerts, and "not surprisingly, the kids have been musical" thanks to this early exposure. Two of her sons sang in the San Francisco Boys Chorus and one is currently chair of the Music Department at San Jose State University.

In retirement, Doris finds that "music is now my joy and my comfort." In addition to attending concerts, she performs in a "very unprofessional" chamber music group, the Eucalyptus Trio. Watch for their performances through SF Civic Music Association.

As a subscriber, Doris has had the opportunity once per season to upgrade from her usual seats. Several seasons ago she elected to sit in the loge for an American Mavericks performance led by Michael Tilson Thomas. The Mavericks programs are among her favorites. "There was a lot of activity on stage, including the special appearance of Meredith Monk. It was amazing!" When she glanced away from the onstage spectacle for a moment, she noticed Maverick composer John Adams sitting across from her. "It was a very special occasion, very memorable," she says.

Last season, Doris prioritized music in another way—by funding a gift annuity with the San Francisco Symphony. "SFS is my community symphony. I have had so much pleasure attending over the years that I want to help ensure that others after me will also have this great opportunity. I am grateful to be able to recognize the importance and value of music in my life and in the life of the community. It simply felt like the right thing to do!"

You can follow Doris' example by making music a priority in your life and your charitable giving. There are many gift options to choose from; contact David Zhang, J.D. at 415-503-5445 or dzhang@sfsymphony.org to help you find the one that is right for you.