In 1996, Ray Rosen, a well-respected conductor of symphony orchestras on both sides of the Atlantic, suffered a family tragedy in the loss of his grandson, David Michael Kelly II, in an incident in Arapahoe County, Colorado. As a result of this, the renowned musician recognized a need to get youth more involved in the arts and thereby, keeping them from self-destructive alternatives. Ray approached the Aurora Symphony with his ideas, which were heartily embraced as a part of the orchestra’s on-going mission in our community, and the “Arts for a Better Tomorrow” Concerts were born.
The Aurora Symphony’s first “Arts for a Better Tomorrow” concert, held in May 1998, was founded on his belief, and featured Ray’s brother, internationally renowned violinist, Aaron Rosand, as its soloist. Mr. Rosen acted as special guest conductor for the first four of these special concerts, but was, unfortunately, unable to join us this year. Ray will always be the founder of this event and holds a special place in our hearts.
To promote the vision of this concert, each year the orchestra selects a beneficiary organization with which to collaborate on this concert. One of the beneficiaries of this concert is the Aurora Education Foundation, a resource organization for Aurora school children. Funds raised from this concert will be earmarked for special music programs within the Aurora Public School System. Parents of Murdered Children, a group that has assisted the Rosen family along with many grieving metro area families, is the other beneficiary of this concert, in recognition of their efforts toward helping both parents and their surviving children.
More specifically, the goals of the Arts for a Better Tomorrow concerts are to:
- Create a greater awareness of the need for positive alternatives for youth and the
role that the arts can fill as one of these alternatives
- Encourage the support of individual contributors to build facilities and to develop
constructive programs for youth
- Gain the cooperation of those supporting the arts to be active, physically and
financially, in providing remedies for this problem
- Get young people involved in these programs
Today, when many children have two working parents, or live with a single parent, and many youths are on their own after school, we see an even greater need for positive youth programs. This, combined with the fact that budget cuts are causing reductions in art and music programs in the schools, is a clear indication of the need for more options for our children. It is the hope of the Aurora Symphony and the Rosen family that this concert will inspire Aurora and the surrounding communities, including the corporate community, to get personally involved in providing facilities and programs for young people so that other families may never experience the pain and tragedy that the Rosens have endured.