Chris White recognizes the importance of music education and its power to transform lives.
By Rebekah Hall | Photography by Rett Peek | Shot on location at Little Rock Violin Shop
Each year the Arkansas Symphony Orchestra presents Opus Ball, a gala that benefits the symphony and its educational programs that enrich the lives of children throughout the state. Chris White, Central Arkansas Market President at Simmons Bank, joined the Arkansas Symphony Orchestra Board of Directors three years ago. He serves on the finance committee, and with his help, the Opus Ball XXXIV is sure to be a mystical evening to remember.
Arkansas Symphony Orchestra’s statewide presence and direct impression on children’s lives, strikes a chord with Chris. “My passion for what we do and what I do is about kids and giving back to children. Many live in a small community and maybe they don’t have access to musical instruments or music in general,” Chris explains.
Through the Simmons Bank Education Challenge, Opus Ball guests can make contributions with an added incentive of a contribution match by Simmons Bank. “For Simmons Bank to sponsor our education challenge each year is very inspiring for all of our patrons and our donors,” notes Arkansas Symphony Orchestra Director of Special Events & Stewardship Tiffany Mattzela. “I know that Simmons Bank is really passionate about furthering our education and outreach efforts. We’re extremely lucky to have their matching sponsorship gift each year.”
Chris recognizes the importance of music education for Arkansas youth and the impact it can have in a child’s life. “I think of it as an outlet for kids to be able to get together and learn a new skill, educate themselves in a different way and have passion for something,” he emphasizes.
The ASO serves more than 25,000 students across the state. Proceeds from the Opus Ball support the expansion of educational programs and outreach efforts including the youth orchestra programs, the Orchestra And You, Arts Partner Programs and the annual Children’s Concert.
This year, the Opus Ball falls on theSaturday before Halloween. With a masquerade theme – Mystical. Musical. Masqued. Opus! – the evening guarantees magical intrigue. Masks will be available for purchase at the ball, with proceeds benefiting ASO. Tiffany and Chris encourage patrons to consider the mission fulfillment work of ASO and invest in the future of Arkansas. As Chris has personally witnessed, it transforms lives of all Arkansans. “It’s amazing to watch those kids as they grow up through this process. That youth orchestra, it’s amazing what they can do.”