What's Your Superpower?

I grew up with five superheroes: five boisterous brothers who had me totally convinced they could protect all the kids in our Milwaukee neighborhood — and save the entire planet if necessary. Tom, the oldest, was our Batman: super smart, super analytical and super wealthy like his alter ego Bruce Wayne. Back then, he always saved most of his allowance; today he’s a Logistics Manager. Todd, aka Spiderman, loved rock-climbing, web-slinging and using his Spidey-sense to alert us when my mom and dad were about to catch us doing something we shouldn’t be doing. Sweet, shy Myles came alive as the Green Lantern, drawing his superpowers from a tin-foil ring and a C cell battery he took out of my dad’s radio. Not surprisingly, he’s an engineer. And, Terry, who somehow morphed from the drummer in a rock band to a church pastor, spent his early years entertaining us as the Hulk. I’m still trying to figure all that out. And then, there’s my brother Mark, who was always Superman, the mighty man of steel with super strength, super speed, x-ray vision and the power of flight. Except for that one little issue with kryptonite, Superman was pretty invincible. And that’s how I felt about Mark as a little kid, and how I feel about him now. He’s watched out for me my entire life, protecting me from childhood bullies, “rescuing” me whenever my rickety ol’ Honda Civic broke down in high school, and throwing me a big-brother lifeline whenever I had a problem as an adult. Once, he achieved super, superhero status when he came upon a car accident and actually pulled a man out of a burning car.

Yes, from the very beginning, my brothers banded together to form a Justice League of their own. And, for the most part, they used their super powers for good (Remember, they were a pack of boys, not angels). Anyway, that got me thinking about the Phil. We have a pretty good Justice League of our own going on here. Not to fight bad guys. But to preserve and promote what we value: live symphonic music. And it’s no big Justice League secret why we do it. We do it because we know that music has a super power all its own. It makes us happy. There is absolutely no way we could produce six fabulous concerts each year without working together. There is absolutely no way we could stage a free waterfront concert on the 4th of July without joining forces.

There is absolutely no way we could provide scholarships to talented young musicians without combining our super powers to make it happen. We couldn’t accomplish any of this for a single year — much less the 100+ years we’ve been bringing incredible musical experiences to the people in our South Shore community — without banding together. Each of us has a super power. And, we have to unleash it every single year to make the magic happen. Again. And again. And again. Some buy tickets or an ad in the program. Others attend the gala or compete in the golf tournament. Still others sponsor a concert, an event, or a musician. We’re all needed to power up the music in and out of the concert hall. So far, we have met 69% of our fundraising goal for the year. We have three short months to close the gap. While donations are pretty much on track with past years, I don’t mind telling you that the final quarter is always a bit unnerving.

This is the homestretch, and we need everyone’s support now more than ever. Please, continue to be a superhero and make a gift today. What we’re doing matters. It matters to us individually and to the thousands of people we impact each year with our super power: music.

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