Brandon Carr and Christine Curtis-Carr wanted a way to honor Brandon's parents and their love of live symphony music. In 2021, the Carrs established the David and Gayle Carr Memorial Musicians Fund, a designated fund to support the Abilene Philharmonic Association's ability to compensate musicians.
Brandon and Christine share these touching memories about his parents:
by Brandon Carr and Christine Curtis-Carr, CFA Fundholders
Growing up, my parents and I would wear our best outfits every Christmas, attend a fancy dinner, and then step out to the Dallas Symphony Orchestra. My parents loved going to the symphony and experiencing live music, and I got to go with them every holiday too. It was our Christmas tradition. It was one of the first times I remember hearing and seeing so many different instruments and musicians on one stage. My parents always enjoyed telling me about the various pieces (we always had CDs around the house full of classical music). They felt it was vital for me to understand why music mattered, and these early experiences sparked my love of music.
Losing a parent is never easy. When my Dad passed away suddenly just shy of his seventieth birthday, my Mom was still in her mid-sixties and already needed care. As an only child, I knew my role in her life, and that of my wife was about to increase. My mom soon moved to Abilene, and as a board member of the Abilene Philharmonic, we started taking her to the shows when she was able. She would get so excited when we would pick her up and tell her where we were going and when the orchestra would begin; I will never forget how she would grab my hand and say thank you repeatedly. She even had a unique bracelet she always wore to concerts throughout the years, and we would make sure to bring it when we took her.
When she finally passed, my wife and I knew we wanted to do something to honor and remember both their lives. As a member of the APO, I know how hard the musicians work and how sometimes they are the last to get paid. I thought there was no better way to honor my parents' lives and the life we all shared than to start a fund to help musicians in our own Abilene Philharmonic. My Dad and I would often talk about the signs of a strong community, and one of them was always if the community could support an orchestra. Even when we chose to move to Abilene, he was excited to know we had one here and that we would be attending the shows as a couple. On a personal note, I was also surprised at how comforting it was to see their names on something. A day doesn’t go by that I don’t miss or think about them. But this fund is my way of carrying on their legacy; it is as if they still live on, in their way. It brings me comfort, and I know it is helping others in a way they would both appreciate, love, and make proud.