Two mainstays of the Midland Odessa Symphony will play their last concert together May 12.
Michael and Shari Santorelli joined MOSC 34 years ago. Michael plays the trumpet with the Lone Star Brass and co-principal of trumpet and Shari is the accompanist for the orchestra and chorale.
Both will have chairs at $75,000 each endowed in their honor.
The couple is likely familiar to area music educators in the area as they have been affiliated with the local school districts and several educational institutions, colleges and universities.
In 1992, the symphony was at a crossroads, Development Director Violet Singh said. Prior to that year, when there was a bust, fewer sponsorships were sold and subscriptions declined, which affected what was presented to the community.
“So board at the time decided to start endowment fund. Their intention was that the earnings of the endowment fund would enable the symphony to maintain its artistic offerings to the community where it will not be much reduction in the artistry of what we do every year,” Singh said.
The MOSC has announced that the endowed chairs for Michael J. Santorelli and Shari Santorelli have both been endowed by Karen and Spencer Beal.
The Beal’s family ties to the MOSC stretches from its inception in 1962 through today and Spencer and Karen represent a second generation continuing a legacy of philanthropy that impacts the lives of residents in the Permian Basin and beyond, Singh said in an email.
“It’s our privilege to honor Mike and Shari Santorelli with endowed chairs for the Midland Odessa Symphony and Chorale. We appreciate their more than 30-plus years of dedicated service to our communities. We wish them all our best on their future endeavors,” the Beals said in a statement.
The Santorellis played their final Masterworks concert April 7 and their final pops and family concert May 12.
If a professional performance is a month or two out, Michael Santorelli said he has to practice two hours every day to maintain his abilities.
Shari Santorelli added that the music has become more challenging, as well.
Michael Santorelli said the prospect is bittersweet. Shari Santorelli said they would miss the symphony.
“It’s time for us to pass the baton,” Shari Santorelli said. “We’ve enjoyed it and we could stay, but I think it’s time for us to do other things, to travel, to visit family.”
Both said they have to devote a lot of time to practice, which gets more difficult as the years go on. Michael is 67 and Shari is 66.
The couple has three children and two grandchildren.