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From Our Community

Planning a Magical Symphony Ball: Q&A with the Chairs

Roma Calatayud-Stocks and Thomas Stocks
Roma Calatayud-Stocks and Thomas Stocks

Music, magic and a celebration of the Minnesota Orchestra’s bright future are in the cards for this year’s Symphony Ball on Saturday, June 10. Experience the Magic” is the theme of the Orchestra’s annual gala fundraiser, set to feature musical performances, dancing, dining, good company—and plenty of surprises. Leading plans for this year’s Ball are Chairs Roma Calatayud-Stocks and Thomas Stocks, who answered questions about the upcoming event and how it grew from their own passion for music, history and legacy.

How did you come up with this year’s theme?

“Experience the Magic” and the power of music resonated with this moment in the Minnesota Orchestra’s history, as we begin a new stage with Music Director Designate Thomas Søndergård. Across nearly 120 years, the Orchestra has brought beauty and magic into Minnesota and around the world. Through classical music, jazz, film scores and a variety of musical programming for all ages, the Orchestra connects a wide community—both at home and abroad. In sharing these magical experiences, we continue to witness the uplifting power of music in the lives of others.

In what ways will the theme of “Experience the Magic” be reflected in the night’s events?

Symphony Ball 2023 will be an evening filled with surprise, awe and wonder. We hope to incorporate magical illusions throughout the evening, pointing to the magic that unites us: music. The Orchestra’s musicians and the magical power of music will center the gala celebration as we spotlight stories of how the Orchestra brings magic to our community and to you.

What brought about your passion for the Orchestra and its music? 

Our connection with the Minnesota Orchestra began in 2003 during the Orchestra’s centennial celebration. We had the pleasure of immersing ourselves in Beethoven’s Fifth Symphony, imagining the time when the Orchestra made its debut in 1903. Live orchestral music captivates audiences, bringing to life composers’ works for our appreciation and enjoyment. As we experience these magic moments, we transcend past, present and future—via music. 

How did the pandemic’s arrival change your appreciation for the magic of live performance?

Suddenly, things we had taken for granted were fleeting—even a simple hug from a loved one. During the pandemic’s outbreak, the Minnesota Orchestra continued to provide musical performances, streaming across thousands of households worldwide. As the saying goes, “You don’t know what you’ve got until it’s gone.” Last March, as we listened to the Orchestra and guest violinist Augustin Hadelich perform Tchaikovsky’s Violin Concerto, we were again transfixed. We could not take our eyes off that magical moment. Magic is not always easy to explain—it’s a spiritual feeling.

What inspired you to serve as Symphony Ball Chairs? 

An appreciation for this organization and its lasting legacy. The dedicated musicians, staff, board and vast network of volunteers connect our collective values and mission—“to enrich, inspire and serve our community as an enduring symphony orchestra internationally recognized for its artistic excellence.” Through the power of music, the Minnesota Orchestra changes lives while continuing to celebrate the music, traditions and contributions of  people worldwide. Through music and our shared humanity, we better understand each other.

What would you like to say to people thinking about attending Symphony Ball, maybe for the first time?

Symphony Ball is incredibly fun. It’s an excellent opportunity to share a magical experience with friends and family, learn more about the Orchestra’s accomplishments over the past year and support our mission. Symphony Ball is a fundraiser unlike any other. Expect beautiful music from gifted musicians, delicious food, dancing, surprises and magical experiences. 

Tickets for Symphony Ball go on sale on February 28. Visit minnesotaorchestra.org/symphonyball to learn more.