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GSO Spotlight: Debbie McCracken

“I have a passion for music. When I was about 12, my father said ‘she hasn’t stopped talking about piano lessons. Maybe we should take this seriously.’ So they rented a piano to make sure I was serious and then it just became my thing!  I love to sing in choruses. I was a music minor. All of my life-long friends are singers. Once I got started I just never really stopped. 

It took my son joining the GSO Chorus for me to wake up and say ‘Hey…there’s a local symphony right here in our town! Why am I driving into the city for this?’  He was a member for several years and tried to get me to join, but I was working full time and the rehearsals didn’t line up with my schedule. 

About 15 years ago, the chorus and orchestra performed Carmina Burana. I came to every performance that weekend. I absolutely fell in love with it. I knew at that point I wanted to join. 

So when I retired, I hopped in. Of course, by then my son had changed jobs and couldn’t sing in the chorus, so we never got to sing together. Even when I’m busy or stressed I sing because music has always filled my cup. It’s therapeutic…a stress reliever. I need some type of release to take a breath and feel joy. 

My absolute favorite program is the Holiday Pops concert. It’s when you see large numbers of extended families come out. Lots of children and they get to be there with Santa Claus. That’s how I brought my grandchildren into the fold. Now as they’re growing older they come to lots of concerts. It’s really expanding their understanding of symphonic music. 

I’ve always felt we needed to support the arts. Obviously we support many human needs in our community, but the arts are SO important for children…and adults and seniors. 

Everyone should have the opportunity to 
experience arts in their community.
That’s why we give.

We like to give as recurring donors. It works for us because it’s very budget friendly and it’s something I don’t have to think about. I don’t have to remember to write big checks at the end of the year. It’s how we like to give, and we’ll probably just keep giving until we die! 

Supporting the GSO gives me a lot of personal satisfaction. Partly because I was that child who could not take piano lessons and could not have formal instruction for a long time because my parents didn’t have the money. That’s why I donate, because I want to help some child have that experience earlier in life.”

Why your support matters

For over 72 years, the GSO has been dedicated to serving our community through musical enrichment and education. From scholarships for students in our youth orchestra, to providing sensory friendly concerts and outreach into underrepresented populations, we responsibly steward your donations to have the greatest impact across all of our programs.

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The Encore Society is a community of supporters who help fuel lasting impact through recurring gifts. By becoming a recurring donor, you make it possible to plan, budget, and make decisions from a place of stability based on your faithful giving. As a member of the Encore Society, you can enjoy the perks and recognition of our donor appreciation packages immediately, all year long, as you split your donation into predictable monthly payments over the course of twelve months or beyond.