By Sarah Kuper
As a man who has managed investments all of his career, Charlie Perry knows a good opportunity when he sees one.
That’s why he has spent many years and held many positions at the Alabama Symphony Orchestra.
“I love music and I love Birmingham. And symphony musicians are as talented as they come,” Perry said.
Perry believes investing in the Alabama Symphony Orchestra with time, money and patronage is an investment in the city of Birmingham.
“Birmingham has been through a lot of ups and downs, but one thing that keeps us as one of the great cities in the south is our culture,” he said, “We have an extraordinary museum, ballet company and symphony.”
It is his many years of leadership at the ASO, coupled with his passion for the symphony’s success, that has Perry and his wife, Sheri, hosting this year’s Maestro’s Ball on Sept. 9.
The annual event is the symphony’s largest fundraiser and features orchestra performances and fine dining catered by Hot and Hot Fish Club.
This will the second Maestro’s Ball for the ASO’s conductor, Carlos Izcaray.
“Most orchestras across the nation are having a hard time attracting young people but Carlos is young and charismatic. He engages the audience and adds his own flare,” Perry said.
According to Perry, this year’s Maestro’s Ball program reflects Izcaray’s Venezuelan background with performances of Latin music.
Perry grew up hearing classical performances at his grammar school but he readily admits he is not a classical music aficionado.
“I am probably the least-educated person on classical music but I know they are the finest performers in the world,” he said, “I don’t enjoy every piece they play but I know how well they are playing it.”
Perry said the Maestro’s Ball is a perfect way to engage those who may not be avid symphony-goers but may be interested in supporting the arts.
“The music is superb even for those who don’t go to symphonies,” he said. “It is just the right amount of music and it is always entertaining.”
Before becoming the ASO’s endowment chair, Perry served as president of the ASO.
Perry co-founded Highland Associates, an independent institutional investment advisory firm, in 1987. He now is chairman of Highland Associates as well as the investment committee for the University of Alabama at Birmingham Health Services Foundation.
The Maestro’s Ball will be held at the UAB Alys Stephens Center at 7 p.m. Sept. 9.
For more information on the ball and the Alabama Symphony Orchestra, visit alabamasymphony.org.