Several years ago BCCO received a bequest from Mildred Kaplan. We honored her generosity by using the gift in support of last November’s community concert opening BCCO’s 50th anniversary year. It was fitting that Millie’s bequest was used to bring the community together for the joy of singing. I met Millie in January 1993 when I joined BCCO. I saw her name and address on the roster at the first rehearsal I attended and saw that she and I lived on the same street. We immediately connected by car pooling to rehearsals together. Millie sang alto in the chorus for 15 years, and for about two years, she served on the BCCO Board. Millie loved her family, she loved learning, and she cared about people. She also loved music and adored Arlene Sagan, BCCO’s director at the time. She valued the concept of the chorus as a one-room schoolhouse. Millie was modest and unassuming. She had a broad range of interests and her sensitivity was only matched by her enthusiasm. Whether she was working in her professional life as a social worker or initiating a widows’ group in Berkeley after the death of her husband, she always had meaningful connections to other people. In her late years she began writing short stories that reflected her past and present. They were touching and insightful. She wanted to pass her stories on to her children and grandchildren. In December 1994, Millie wrote a letter to accompany a donation she made to fund a keyboard for BCCO: “I want to express my appreciation for what being part of this wonderful group has meant to me. “I arrived here from the East Coast some three years ago, knowing no one in the community except family members. Joining the chorus proved to be the perfect way for me to meet a cross-section of this community and to engage in a musical experience of the highest order. “I have sung in choruses in various places over the years, but BCCO tops them all, in spirit, dedication, and love of the music. The BCCO is community for me.”
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