Hosea T. Chew
Over thirty years ago, Hosea Chew heard the BSO live for the first time when Leontyne Price sang "Summertime" from Porgy and Bess. "To this day, she is the only person who could sing it for me," he says. That evening launched his passion for the BSO's artistry and an enduring respect for the BSO's commitment to the community.
As longtime Director of Administration for the Baltimore City Council President, Hosea is deeply involved in civic life and well aware of the vital role of the BSO as a cultural leader.
Music has been a transformational force in Hosea's life since childhood. He sang in school and church choirs and remembers many influential teachers who encouraged him along the way. Formal training was unavailable, and by ninth grade Hosea didn't know how to read music when his family moved to Baltimore. It was Miss Jones at Cherry Hill Junior High who gave her time after school, teaching him to read music and play the piano. This opened new opportunities, and Hosea began playing for his church choir. He then saw and heard a pipe organ at another church and knew immediately: "I want to be up there." Hosea learned to play and has been a church organist ever since. Through high school, college and beyond, he has sung, played and traveled with choirs.
In 2010, Hosea fell in love with the OrchKids students and program after seeing a performance. Wishing this program had been available when he was young, Hosea actively supports OrchKids and the BSO.
He sees what the BSO does for the community—how the orchestra "goes outside the walls to help families and kids" in so many ways. In the aftermath of Freddie Gray's death, Hosea was very moved when BSO musicians asked to perform a free community concert at his church.
When Hosea heard about the Legato Circle and the centennial challenge campaign, he was prompted to make a legacy gift. "As a child, I didn't have resources to pay for studies, but I was blessed over the years because of all I was able to do musically. Music is a life changer—it kept me off the streets, doing things I like doing, meeting folks. Music helped me through difficult periods in my life and opened many doors along the way." Music allowed Hosea to see the world, and he wants other kids to have the opportunities he had.
Hosea has designated the BSO as a beneficiary of his life insurance policy, and he hopes his gift will inspire other donors to think about the future. In Hosea's words, "I would like to see more people who look like me in the Legato Circle. We can't rely solely on others to take care of our kids. Music provides a foundation for the good life that everyone deserves. Let's pay it forward for generations to come."