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Long-time Supporters Keep On Giving

by: Theresa Hayes, JCSO Board Member

TCH: Before we talk about the painting you’ve donated for the JCSO fundraiser, the board would like to thank you on behalf of the entire community for sponsoring the March 9 “Unending Joy” concert. Guest pianist Caroline Oltmanns was spectacular, and Beethoven’s Symphony No. 5 is a favorite with just about everyone. Thank you for making that concert possible!

Harris: Hannah and I think that a good symphony orchestra, as well as other good arts related offerings, are important for any community that wants to present itself as an attractive place for people to live. We were fortunate to have many options when we were looking for a place to live 49 years ago. The fact that Johnson City had a symphony orchestra and a public radio station were two of the many things that helped bring us here and kept us happy here.

TCH: This is not the first time you and your wife have sponsored a JCSO concert, is it?

Harris: Hannah and I have been supporters of the Johnson City Symphony Orchestra since 1975, and I have served several terms on the JCSO board.

Hannah and Art

TCH: The Johnson City Symphony Orchestra could not survive without patrons like you. We are deeply grateful for all you’ve done. Now, what can you tell us about the painting you’ve donated?

Harris: The painting available for auction at the Mozart Masquerade Ball is a 16” x20” acrylic on canvas. It depicts a lovely summer day looking south from Engine Gap on the balds of Roan Mountain, one of my favorite places.

A view captured on canvas from Engine Gap on Roan Mountain

TCH: When did you take up painting?

Harris: I had some art training as a child and enjoyed sketching throughout my life. I started painting again about 20 years ago. I paint from my own photos or photos taken by my family. I have work (play) on the easel all the time!

I do not sell my paintings but have donated several to nonprofits for fundraising. I have more than 100 paintings displayed on Instagram under ArtHarris424. Also, my friends in the office of Ear Nose & Throat Associates, from which I retired, let me rotate some paintings there, where they are seen by more people than if they were in a gallery. The responses I hear from those people, who are often former patients, give me great pleasure.  The main pleasure, though, comes from the time I spend painting. I hope that someone else who loves Roan Mountain will enjoy this painting as much as I enjoyed making it.

Hannah and I hope people will come out to support the JCSO by attending the Second Annual Mozart Masquerade Ball. It should be a fun time and is a good opportunity to help our symphony orchestra maintain its fiscal strength. As readers may know, revenue from ticket sales covers a small percentage of the cost of preparation and presentation of the beautiful music our 70 professional musicians and our fine conductor/music director provide for us. All the help we can give them is worthwhile.

TCH: Thank you for those important words, your donation to the auction, and for all you’ve done for the symphony. We look forward to seeing you at the ball!

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