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Thursday, November 16, 2000

names new

The longtime symphony
benefactor Carolyn Berry
replaces Bob Levy
as head

By Tim Ryan

Carolyn Berry, a longtime Honolulu Symphony benefactor, has been named chairwoman of the organization, replacing Bob Levy.

Berry is in Florida, so was not present at yesterday's annual Symphony Society meeting when the switch was announced. During the past few years, she has contributed close to $2 million to the symphony, according to sources.

The appointment comes three months after Levy, who served as symphony chairman for two years, loaned the symphony foundation $521,000 interest-free to eliminate a bank loan that carried a 10.25 percent interest rate. The foundation is contracted to repay Levy over five years.

"On such a large loan, that amounted to $50,000 to $60,000 a year in interest," said Levy. "Way too much for the symphony's budget."

The Honolulu Symphony Foundation was created more than a year ago when the endowment fund was split off so the foundation could shepherd these funds. Merrill Lynch is managing the foundation's assets, Levy said.

Levy, 78, was aware of the plans to make Berry chairwoman and supports the decision. He has been appointed immediate past president, a consulting position on the board, he said. Levy described his term as "an interesting two years."

"Our former executive director (Michael Tiknis) left us with a huge deficit," he said. "Every year he was here, he ran the debt up until when he left we were $900,000 in the hole."

In response, Tiknis, who took a similar position in Midland, Mich., said, "It's rather unfortunate that (Levy) feels that any one person, especially the executive director, would be happy with any debt."

"Plans are always made and carried out by the board and the staff," Tiknis said. "I suppose someone must accept ultimate responsibility, and unfortunately in many cases it's the executive director."

Steve Bloom, former executive director of the Tacoma Symphony Orchestra, has been hired to succeed Tiknis, and will take over the organization Dec. 5.

The symphony board's new executive committee now also includes Sharon McPhee, first vice chairman, and Richard Griffith, second vice chairman.

Other new board members elected are: Tony Rutledge, president/CEO of Unity House Inc.; Arleene D.K. Skillman, veterinarian and founder of University Pet Clinic; Maneck Minoo, president of Gasparian and Minoo Ltd., and Precision Press; Judith A. Perry, regional vice president of Merrill Lynch; Payne T. Onishi, president/CEO of Quality Graphics & Printing Inc.; Jane Allen, community leader; and William Van Allen, philanthropist and retired Army colonel.

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