Kenneth & Ann Hicks Murrah Honored with 2013 Blackburn Award

Ken & Ann Hicks Murrah

The Murrahs accepted the award at the Philharmonic’s Beethoven 7 concert on Saturday.

(ORLANDO, FL – November 18, 2013) On Saturday, the Orlando Philharmonic Orchestra presented its 2013 John O. Blackburn Distinguished Service Award to Winter Park residents Kenneth and Ann Hicks Murrah in recognition of their service to the orchestra. The presentation was made on stage prior to Saturday’s Beethoven 7 concert at Bob Carr Performing Arts Centre.

“I can’t think of two people who are more deserving of this award, and who exemplify the qualities that John Blackburn embodied, than Kenneth and Ann,” said Executive Director David Schillhammer. “On behalf of the musicians, board, staff and volunteers, I can’t thank them enough for their service, generosity and passion for the Philharmonic.”

Mr. Murrah’s service to the Orlando Philharmonic began during its earlier years, when he successfully transferred two Florida Symphony endowments—the Harrison Hollander Trust and the Charlotte Julia Hollander Trust—to the successor organization, the Orlando Philharmonic. The Murrahs were also among the first to endow a principal chair in the orchestra, now known as the Kenneth and Ann Hicks Murrrah Principal Timpani Chair, chosen both for Ann’s love of percussion, and in honor of the hard work, sacrifice and musicianship of the chair’s current occupant, Carl Rendek. The Murrahs also recently made a $500,000 commitment to the orchestra’s future home at The Plaza Live Theatre. In perpetuity, the renovated lobby of the building will be known as the Kenneth and Ann Hicks Murrah Lobby.

“We are thrilled to receive the Blackburn award,” said the Murrahs. “All successful orchestras have three things in common: talented musicians, wise and able staff, and passionate supporters. We have been delighted to be able to provide support—both time and money—to this wonderful organization. They make our community a better place to live, and they bring joy to our lives with every concert.”

The Blackburn Distinguished Service Award was created in remembrance of the orchestra’s volunteer finance director and treasurer John O. Blackburn, who served the orchestra from 1993 until 2006. The award is not presented annually, but on the occasion that the board deems someone is deserving of the honor. Recipients of the award are chosen based on their passion for orchestral music; longevity of service; commitment to financial stewardship; and legacy of endowment building. This is the third time the award has been given. The award was presented for the first time in 2011, to Board member and community volunteer Carol Stanley Fenner, and again in 2012 to longtime orchestra supporters Lynn & Charles Steinmetz.

Kenneth Murrah practices law at his Winter Park firm, Murrah, Doyle & Wigle, specializing in estate planning and trust administration. A Winter Park resident since 1944, he has worked diligently on a multitude of local issues, including park preservation and the canopy of trees, the Winter Park Library, the Methodist church, and Alpha Tau Omega fraternity. For 43 years, until her death, Kenneth was married to another civic leader, Rachel Durrett Murrah. In 2002 he married Ann Hicks, who left her position as Assistant Head of the Chapin School in Manhattan to return to Winter Park.

Entering its 21st season in 2013-2014, the Orlando Philharmonic is Central Florida’s resident professional orchestra, comprised of talented musicians recruited from around the world. The Philharmonic inspires audiences with over 125 musical experiences annually, ranging from classical and chamber music concerts to pops performances, staged opera productions, outdoor concerts and education programs for all ages. Committed to building a sustainable future for classical music, the Philharmonic currently has a budget of $3.6 million, holds an endowment of $4 million, and has maintained a balanced budget every year of its existence.