"I am fortunate to be called an old man, and as such, I have many stories to tell. Each one will help explain, bit by bit, why the BSO has meant so much to me." Nicholas Klise started attending BSO concerts in 1963, walking to the Lyric from Bolton Hill with his new partner, Morris West. Right away they became subscribers, although neither had a prior connection to music. Nick was an art student at MICA and became an architect and artist, noted for his architectural illustrations. Morris taught high school ecology and later joined Becton Dickinson as a microbiologist. They were together fifty-four years and celebrated their marriage two months before Morris passed away in 2014.
Nick and Morris had many professional and avocational interests, sharing a passion for horticulture and a wide range of creative endeavors. They designed, built and landscaped Rocky Hollow Gardens, a weekend house in York County PA, which became their retirement home and a renowned tour destination. Through the years, BSO concert nights remained a priority for them, regardless of the commute and weather.
Nick declares that he knows "absolutely nothing about music," although he can identify composers within a few bars of hearing a piece. "I don't know how to read music, and I don't know how to make music. I do, however, know how to listen to music." His appreciation is self-taught, through avid listening to library recordings and dedicated concert attendance. Nick is deeply moved by live performance and often brought to tears. The BSO's performance of Rimsky-Korsakov's Capriccio Espagnol is a favorite memory.
Nick chose to honor the life he and Morris shared through a legacy gift to the BSO. As they had no children or family, "What is a guy like me going to do? I am going to think about what was the most important thread woven into all of those little life stories." Thus, in support of the BSO Second Century Campaign, Nick made an endowment gift through his trust. "The BSO has been a part of my history — but my memory of music should not exonerate me from foresight. I want the BSO to live way beyond me." For Nick, being a music lover means "giving a legacy to that love."