EDITORIAL: Music lovers leave lasting legacy

York Dispatch

“Without music, life would be a mistake.”

Beverly and Jim Mohatt.

German philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche uttered those memorable words more than a century ago, but they have only gained in power and validity through the ensuing decades.

In many ways, music is the food that feeds our soul.

Jim and Beverly Mohatt knew that better than anyone.

During their life, music saturated nearly every fiber of their being.

After their death, music will now soar to even greater heights in York County, thanks to their generosity.

The lifelong music lovers have left nearly $6 million to several music programs in the area.

According to a story in Monday's Dispatch, Beverly was a dedicated string instructor in schools in and around York and Jim was a teacher at York College, where he helped boost its music program during his tenure there. Both were members of the York Symphony Orchestra.

Beverly died in 1996 and her husband died in 2014. Upon Jim's death, the couple left large donations to the James L. Mohatt Excellence in Music Education Scholarship, the York Symphony Orchestra, the York Youth Symphony Orchestra and the Spring Garden Band. Three newly endowed funds were created at the York County Community Foundation courtesy of the Mohatts' generosity: the Dr. James L. Mohatt Fund for York Symphony; the Beverly J. Mohatt Fund of the York Youth Symphony Orchestra; and the Dr. James L. Mohatt Fund for Spring Garden Band.

The arts are a pivotal part of any thriving community, especially in places such as York County, where the city dwellers and the rural residents often seem to exist on separate plants. The arts, in general, and music, in particular, can bring together folks who normally wouldn't rub elbows. It can foster understanding and common ground and narrow the great divide that sometimes seems to separate us.

It's also vital that our youth get exposed to music early and often. In school, especially high school, athletics often seem to get a disproportionate amount of the attention and funding. The Mohatts' gift to the York Youth Symphony Orchestra will help combat that imbalance and also build a better York for years to come.

The Mohatts have bestowed a lasting gift that the York-area music community will enjoy for years to come.

It's a legacy that should be celebrated.