As you receive this, I am winding down the 27 most exciting and satisfying years of a 50-plus year career as a performer and producer.

Early last year, I expressed to GP’s board my intention to retire from Grand Performances in 2017 and the Board began a vigorous process to identify the right person to follow me. I know they have done a great job and look forward to watching Grand Performances continue to grow and excel under the leadership of Mari Riddle.

We could not have gotten this far were it not for an incredible team of Board and staff members, volunteers, donors, devoted audience members and awesome artists all sharing our belief that access to the arts should be a right and not a privilege.

Bringing people together to view thoughtfully produced programs has served a myriad of interests. People have discovered artists, art forms and cultural information through GP’s programming. People have had opportunities to share a beautiful civic space with people from throughout the region. Downtown became a destination. Free performing arts became a model worthy of emulation around the region.

Please join me in welcoming Mari to GP and remember, without the support of people like you, GP cannot produce a series deemed by many to be the “urban experiment that worked.”