Patrons of the Arts: Howard Freese and Gail Brinn Wilkins

For more than 20 years, Gail Brinn Wilkins and Howard Freese have made beautiful music with Charlotte Concerts. The veteran board members promote classical performances like The Vienna Boys’ Choir, which comes to Charlotte on March 16. Gail and Howard hope to motivate a new generation of musicians with their lifelong love for piano, dancing and each other.

In the classroom: Through Charlotte Concerts’ In School Masters Class, professional musicians interact with students at public schools. This gives budding talent a taste of life as a working musician. Gail, a former teacher, feels this connection is vital to fueling creativity. “You have to have this in your soul,” she said.

Dueling pianos: Gail and Howard have baby grand pianos in their Charlotte and mountain homes. The pianists are fans of classical music, jazz and bluegrass. “Music is something that we enjoy,” says Howard, “so it’s been great to be on a board together.”

In for the long run: Gail and Howard fell in love through a shared passion for arts outreach. Although they have been on many nonprofit boards, they have stayed on the longest with Charlotte Concerts. “We have a passion for it,” said Gail.