North State Symphony receives largest donation in history

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Robert and Ann Morgan were devoted supporters of classical musical in Northern California and set aside a $1 million gift to be given to the North State Symphony upon their deaths. Photo courtesy of Robert and Ann Morgan.

Two lifelong music lovers have shown their appreciation by giving a $1 million gift to the North State Symphony, a program within Chico State’s College of Humanities and Fine Arts.

Robert and Ann Morgan, former owners of Crown Motors in Redding, were lovers of classical music and longtime supporters of the North State Symphony, where Robert became a piano enthusiast, playing and writing his own works.

After Robert Morgan retired in 1994, the couple looked to the North State Symphony as a way to give back to the city that they loved.

Robert Morgan died in 2009, followed by Anne last year. Their nephew, Robin Hall, presented the symphony with the $1 million check in December and established the Robert and Ann Morgan Endowment.

“My uncle and aunt were no experts of classical music,” Hall said. “They were music lovers, but most of all they loved the idea that they could have something to do with the cultural nourishment of the city they came to love so much.”

The endowment will do a lot to help keep the symphony in business, said Robert Knight, dean of the College of Humanities and Fine Arts.

“This gift will ensure that the citizens of the North State will continue to have a professional orchestra, and that the orchestra can bring in wonderful soloists, perform outreach and bring joy to thousands of school children,” Knight said. “All of us that work to make the symphony a success are deeply grateful for Robert and Ann Morgan’s vision and generosity.”

The North State Symphony was created in 2001 following the merger of the Chico and Redding Symphonies. The group puts on performances both in both cities and participates in education outreach programs and chamber concerts.

“The North State Symphony is truly a cultural gem benefiting the entire North State region,” Knight said.

The North State Symphony celebrated its 100th anniversary recently and has roots dating back to 1905, with the first orchestra formed when the university was called Chico State Normal School.

Michael McClurg can be reached at [email protected] or @theorion_news on Twitter.