Music in the Mountains (MIM) has announced the receipt of a generous bequest from Jerry Ames, one of its founding directors who died in late 2012.
According to MIM Executive Director Cristine Kelly, the bequest is valued at more than $100,000 “and comes at a time of exciting change and growth of the organization.”
Ames and his life partner, Chris Dickman, operated The Red Castle Inn in Nevada City for many years, according to a news release. It was there at the inn that Music in the Mountains publicly announced the first SummerFest in 1982. Ames was a founding member of the MIM board of directors and served from 1981 through 1994.
“I remember Jerry being an active participant in the planning and design of the early Music in the Mountains,” said Terry Brown, who was executive director at the time.
“I have a particularly vivid memory of the meeting when we chose our name and Jerry insisted that we go with Music in the Mountains.
“And don’t forget that he took on the huge job of recruiting volunteers to house artists during the first few years of SummerFest,” added Artistic Director Emeritus Paul Perry.
“He obviously had a knack for it, since some of those matches have endured for over 30 years!”
Born and raised in Hillsborough, Calif., Ames went on to graduate from the Monterey Institute of Foreign Studies and remained in the Carmel area to teach German, Spanish and educationally handicapped children.
He was always a classic car fan and was a member of several classic car clubs on the West Coast, the release states. Ames’ classic “Woody” station wagon was seen at many MIM events and lent flair to the festivities.
Ames didn’t limit his arts support to MIM and could be seen with Chris at concerts, plays and performances all around town, according to the release. In 1995, they moved to the island of Islesboro, Maine, where they owned and operated the Dark Harbor House Inn during the summers until just a few years ago.
But every winter they returned to Nevada City and their special table at MIM concerts, even after a stroke confined Ames to a wheelchair.
“Our heartfelt thanks go out to Jerry,” said Peter Nowlen, MIM’s newly appointed artistic advisor and 24-year veteran of the SummerFest Orchestra.
“This wonderful legacy will empower us to reach new heights in bringing the finest performances of the greatest music, as well as our broad-reaching educational programs, to our communities.”