20th Anniversary, News

Michael Smith chooses Rock Hill Symphony to receive latest Morton & Gettys anniversary gift

Rock Hill Symphony President Dr. Sarah Lynn Hayes, Symphony Music Director Dr. David Rudge, Morton & Gettys partner Michael Smith and Symphony Vice President Dr. Jeffery Sligh.

Organized in 2017, the Rock Hill Symphony Orchestra is now about to embark on its third season – which would have been the fourth season, except for COVID.

This is an exciting moment as this fully professional orchestra, made up of some of the finest players from throughout the region, gets ready to safely return to live concerts with an all-Beethoven program in October.

So at this pivotal moment, Morton & Gettys is stepping forward to support this important local cultural institution. Partner Michael B. Smith has chosen it as the seventh of 10 community organizations to receive a $2,000 gift in celebration of the law firm’s 20 anniversary. Each month of the program, attorneys and staff have taken turns making this selection.

Michael, who has been a member of the symphony’s board since its second season, is chairman of its Governance Committee. He recently helped to revamp the group’s bylaws to better fit the orchestra and its mission.

One new provision creates an endowment for the symphony, and the Morton & Gettys gift will be the first donation to it. “Creating an endowment is a positive move and sign of strength, showing we’re in it for the long haul,” said Smith.

The board voted to create the endowment on July 27.

Michael has served for years on the Arts Council of York County, and he also serves on the newly created Rock Hill Poet Laureate Committee. He has a lifelong interest in music, having grown up playing the piano. His current favorite composer is Ludovico Einaudi.

“On behalf of our Symphony family — board, musicians, staff, volunteers and supporters — I am thrilled to receive this most generous gift from Morton & Gettys,” said Sarah Lynn Hayes, president of the Rock Hill Symphony Orchestra. “The firm’s members set a high bar for community involvement, so to be selected for an anniversary gift is a special kind of endorsement.”

“It is particularly rewarding to receive this from Michael,” she added. “Michael Smith is an outstanding board member for our organization. He is generous with his time and many talents and is an articulate and active RHSO Board member who shares our passion for the arts to enrich the lives of all in our community.”

She said there are many opportunities for other members of the community to help further the symphony’s mission. She describes several ways of doing that:

  • Buy tickets, come out and experience the performances.
  • Become a donor or sponsor, like Morton & Gettys. Information on how to do that can be found here: https://rhsymphony.org/support-us
  • Volunteer – serving at performances, taking tickets and helping people find their seats are among many ways volunteers can help.

“Despite the challenges of the pandemic, we at the symphony have done our best to keep great music coming to the community and to continue our educational efforts in the public schools,” she said. “We’re able to do that because of this kind of financial support and advocacy from people like Jim Morton, John Gettys, Michael Smith and their colleagues, so many, many thanks to Morton & Gettys for recognizing what we do in this way.”