Donor Stories

Annual Giving

Diana and Bryan Watabe – We love the Utah Symphony!

Photo credit: Nick Stone photography

Nine years ago we moved back to Utah. Our oldest child was just a few months old, and as a few more little ones followed, our lives got busier and busier. We found balance and respite from the din of the daily bustle through our evening at the Utah Symphony.

We’ve always been impressed with the quality of musicianship at the Utah Symphony and decided to become full season Masterworks subscribers with the Beethoven Cycle. We’ve continued to be full season ticket holders because of the hidden gems we’ve found every year.

We donate because we want the Utah Symphony to not only get by, but to thrive! As ticket sales only cover 25% of the costs, we want to do our part to make sure the Utah Symphony is here for us and our kids to enjoy in due course!

We hope you’ll join us in making an annual contribution  – of whatever amount – to the Utah Symphony and help continue this tradition of excellence!

Judy Brady and Drew W. Browning – Proud to be Utah Opera “Stockholders”

 Judy & Drew Browning

We became Utah Opera season subscribers shortly after we were married in 1986, and decided at the same time that we would also become donors to this outstanding company.   We continue to be not only entertained and deeply moved by the varied slate of operas performed year after year, but are also consistently impressed with the high quality of the productions as well as their creative and visually stunning staging.  Add to that a talented artistic staff, management team and support personnel and you have a professional company of which we are very proud—no ifs, ands or buts!

In addition to the stellar talents who always sing the lead roles, we would be remiss if we didn’t also acknowledge our superb Utah Opera Chorus ---which is kind of like really good icing on an equally good cake.  We also love to talk about our beloved Utah Opera when we travel—especially to fellow patrons at the Met in New York City and at the San Francisco Opera.

We like to think that our annual donation to Utah Opera makes us “stockholders” of a company that will hopefully be around for many years to come.  Join us and become a “stockholder” as well so that you too will be instrumental in ensuring Utah Opera’s long term financial stability.    

To join the Watabes and the Brownings in supporting the Annual Fund, make a contribution online today, call us at 801.869.9015, or email us at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Special Projects and Initiatives

Dinesh Patel – Supporting resilience through innovation

Dinesh Patel

As an entrepreneur and venture capitalist, I believe strongly that the combination of scientific knowledge, business acumen, and cultural vitality can vastly improve society. Artists possess an inner drive to create and invent new things, and it’s this drive that indicates a strong correlation between the arts, science and entrepreneurship. The arts stimulate innovation, adaptation and progress.

Like every organization, Utah Symphony | Utah Opera must determine for itself the proper balance between growth and innovation on the one hand and, on the other, preservation and stability.  The need to adapt to new situations provides an opportunity to produce engaging artistic projects. The opening of our 2013-14 Utah Opera season is an excellent example of ingenuity applied to a new situation – in this case, the need for a temporary new home. Producing Salome at Abravanel Hall while the Capitol Theatre undergoes renovation offered a new opportunity to think about the music and the drama. Similarly, the cabaret-style production of Fatal Song at the Rose Wagner Performing Arts Center demonstrated an opportunity to bring opera to the community in different forms.

I know firsthand that periods of challenge frequently provide the impetus for innovation and growth. Utah Symphony | Utah Opera exemplifies the creativity and flexibility necessary to adapt to changing situations and environments. Some of the best scientific initiatives and businesses are born during recessionary times and, while USUO still faces significant challenges, I know that USUO -- like our community -- is emerging more resilient and visionary than ever, with ambitious plans for this season and beyond. This is an organization worthy of all our “capital.”

Dinesh Patel is Co-Founder and Director Emeritus of Signal Peak Ventures and a member of Utah Symphony | Utah Opera’s Board of Trustees.

To find out how you can make a special gift to support artistic innovation and new programs, contact Shaleane Gee, Director of Major Gifts, at 801.869.9013 or at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. .

Planned Giving

The Patricia A. Richards and William K. Nichols Endowment Fund will support both Utah Symphony and Utah Opera

Photo: Pat Richards and Bill Nichols with Kathryn Eberle, USUO’s Associate Concertmaster (violin) and Jens Tenbroek (bass) who joined the orchestra in 2011.

Patricia A. Richards joined the Utah Opera Board of Trustees in 1994. After the merger with the Utah Symphony in 2002, she was appointed Vice Chairman of the Utah Symphony | Utah Opera Board of Trustees in 2004 and has served as Board Chairman since 2005.
Pat knows firsthand what it takes to run a world-class organization like USUO: strong leadership, community support, a civic tradition of valuing the arts, and – above all – artistic excellence.  An important sign of USUO’s bright future is its ability to recruit the best musical talent that exists today. Under Pat’s leadership, in 2009 Thierry Fischer was appointed the Utah Symphony’s seventh Music Director. During his tenure, 22 new musicians have joined the orchestra, with auditions now attracting upwards of 200 applicants.

Pat is extending the already significant impact of her service with a planned gift that ensures USUO will continue to attract the very best and maintain the highest standards for the benefit of Utah audiences. In the future, the Patricia A. Richards and William K. Nichols Endowment Fund will support general operations, artist salaries, performances, recordings, commissions, and tours for both Utah Symphony and Utah Opera. 

To learn how you, too, can include USUO in your financial and estate plans, contact Shaleane Gee at 801.869.9013 or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. .