In recognition of unwavering dedication to the music and mission of the Charlotte Symphony, Frank Gentry is the recipient of the 2013 Sally Ann Hall Spirit of the Symphony Award. The award will be presented on Saturday, January 11 at Belk Theater in conjunction with the Orchestra's performance of Brahms Symphony No. 2.
"This award honors the unsung heroes of the Symphony who work diligently behind the scenes. Frank Gentry has seen the Symphony through thick and thin in his quiet and unassuming way for many years. We are thrilled to honor him," said Emily Smith, Chair of the Charlotte Symphony Board of Directors.
Like many dedicated members of the Charlotte Symphony family, Frank got his start with the Symphony as a listener, a music lover. Frank and his wife, Sarah Gentry, have been Classics patrons for many years, loyally supporting the Symphony from the seats of the audience, in addition to being generous donors. Frank served as a member of the Charlotte Symphony Board of Directors, devoting countless hours to the thankless work of committees, task forces and advisory groups. Behind the scenes, he helped the Symphony through trying financial times.
But, it is not only his passion for the music or the generous commitment of his time and money that makes Frank this year's winner of the Spirit of the Symphony Award. Frank stands out as an advocate, a champion, for the Symphony, who has rallied significant support for the Orchestra from others in the community when it was most needed.
"Frank's genius was his uncanny ability to bring people together to plan and develop out-of-the-box strategies that moved the causes he cared about forward, and he mentored others through the process," said Elizabeth McLaughlin, longtime Charlotte Symphony patron, former board chair and current board member who has worked with Frank over the years.
The Sally Ann Hall Spirit of the Symphony Award was created in 2007 to honor the memory of one of its most committed patrons, Sally Ann Hall. Devoted to classical music, Sally Ann Hall (1939-2005) was a member of the Charlotte Symphony Board of Directors and served as President of the Oratorio Singers of Charlotte Board. In 2004, she and her husband Joseph Kirkland Hall, III established the Sally Ann Hall Chair for the directorship of the Oratorio Singers, now held by Scott Allen Jarrett.
Like Sally and Frank, recipients of the annual award demonstrate a commitment to the Symphony as an organization, show a profound respect for its music and musicians and motivate and encourage others to become actively involved with the Symphony family. Winners are chosen from an open slate of nominations by a committee that represents the CSO Board, Staff, and Musicians and the Oratorio Singers of Charlotte. Past recipients include David Mills (2007), Dr. George Stegner (2008), Richard J. Osborne (2009), Patricia A. Rodgers (2010), Mark R. Bernstein (2011) and Deena Outwater Surphlis (2012).
A South Carolina native, Frank was born in Abbeville, SC in 1942, and grew up in Clemson, SC, graduating from Clemson University in 1964. He then went on to earn a prestigious Mellon Fellowship and a masters of science in industrial administration from Carnegie Mellon University. He landed in Charlotte with Bank of America, and retired as an executive vice president for Bank of America Corp. As a volunteer and philanthropist, Frank has served on boards of the Charlotte Symphony, Clemson University, International House and the John Crosland School among other engagements. In his retirement, he has become a Bridge Life Master and continues to attend Charlotte Symphony concerts. With his wife Sarah he has two sons, John and David, and two grandchildren.
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