Seraphic Fire’s patrons and donors come from all walks of life and from various musical backgrounds. Some are talented singers themselves or accomplished musicians. Many have in-depth knowledge of classical music history, which is truly impressive. However, most are simply devotees of music that makes them feel good. The compelling reason why they all look forward to the next Seraphic Fire performance is to experience an other-worldly enchantment; to be mesmerized by the purity of voices and invigorated by the magical energy in the room. The Seraphic Fire artists and musicians strive to deliver exceptional performances that excite their audiences.
For 20 years, Seraphic Fire has had a special relationship with its supporters. They are the reason the ensemble exists and thrives. Not only are patrons the recipient of the very special music the artists and musicians perform for them, but these champions reciprocate and are the giver of their talents, time, and resources. Seraphic Fire deeply appreciates every performance attendee, online listener, volunteer, and donor. Here are just a few stories that patrons have shared about their Seraphic Fire experiences.
Twenty years ago, Joanne Schulte says to me: “I really want you to meet this kid, Patrick Quigley.” Patrick proceeded to tell me about his dream to start Seraphic Fire, even mentioning the model Chanticleer, and I was on board right away. To know Patrick is to appreciate his excellence when you speak with him or see him conduct. Our family business, Williamson Cadillac, is very engaged in the community. We don’t give to causes, we give to people with a passion. We got on board in a big way with a signature event, the first Messiah almost 20 years ago, and we have been committed since. It was just a no-brainer. I appreciate how Seraphic Fire will take you really interesting places with their music choices and show you things that you wouldn’t have learned about before. It’s nice that there are returning singers that you’ve heard many times but there are new faces. Patrick creates a sense of family in these singers. And the audience is almost like an extended family. There’s a warmth to it. I am always in the audience, and I can imagine us contributing for as long as they do what they do.
I first heard of Seraphic Fire when I was in the car listening to NPR. I called their office to learn more, and the phone was handed over to Patrick. It was like talking with George Balanchine about his ballet. Patrick told me the program would be a mix of early music as well as some contemporary pieces. He encouraged me to come to see for myself. It was the first concert held in Ft. Lauderdale. I had no idea what to expect. We went and we have been going ever since. What amazed me is that every time they opened their mouths to sing, there was a purity of sound that was coming out.
When it was over, I felt like I was walking on air. My spirit was thrilled by the music. My brain felt like it had been engaged and learned something, and the energy of Patrick and the singers was just magnificent. I left everything outside the venue and indulged myself in enjoying the music. What we like about Seraphic Fire is that there is always a surprise. I like being exposed to new music, the unexpectedness of the choices, and that the pieces all flow together. After I leave the concert, I love meeting the singers and instrumentalists, Patrick and James. Even though I have nothing terribly knowledgeable to say, I want to share my delight in what I heard. They make the audience feel seen, we’ve not just ticket buyers – we are supporters and groupies. I am proud of them because I’ve seen them develop for so long.
I have loved Seraphic Fire, and we are so fortunate to have them in Miami. They are unique and marvelous. We have an opera, a ballet, and a symphony but nothing else like Seraphic Fire! I love going because I love the music, and I appreciate their voices and the way they are directed. It’s a lesson as well as a wonderful program to hear. They have added new composers, added different types of repertoire, which has become more varied. They have made a real name for themselves and also performed a real service for Miami. I support the work they do to train young musicians so that they can make a living doing this kind of work. I am a big supporter of the arts – it’s important to the community.
I guess it was season two or three of Seraphic Fire and I was walking down Lincoln Road and saw a poster, and I thought: Who on earth performs Dido and Aeneas in Miami Beach? I had never heard of Seraphic Fire. I was skeptical but went to listen, and I was blown away. The smaller scale was attractive to me, but mostly, the skill and enthusiasm of the artists and the creativity of the program. You’re not just getting "the greatest hits of the last 200 years." It’s always something new; I’ve gotten the opportunity to learn a lot of new music through Seraphic Fire. With Seraphic Fire, you are always sure that you are going to hear something that is astonishingly well-performed. The quality of the vocal performances and the enthusiasm of the artists have never changed over the years. I feel like I’m part of the family and not just a spectator.
I grew up during the Second World War listening to Beethoven and Mozart on an old-fashioned radio. Then the last year, the police came and took the radios away, and there went my music. I was so sad and disappointed, but my mother had a beautiful voice, and she sang to me instead. So, music has always been important to me. One day, I heard something about Seraphic Fire on public radio, and they said it was a cappella, and I had never heard that word in English, so I looked it up. I said to my husband “voices without music accompaniment?” I was so excited; I said I have to go and find out. It was European masters that I knew and heard as a child on the radio in Germany. I appreciated the singers sharing their gifts of music. It was a healing therapy for me. My heart and my soul react the same way to Seraphic Fire now as the first time I watched them.
Raul and Ana Marmol
Raul’s aunt and uncle went to Patrick’s very first concerts, and they invited us to a Christmas concert. It was amazing and we have been going ever since. We have a tradition that we invite friends and family—at last count, there were 36 of us—and we open the holiday season with A Seraphic Fire Christmas, and then dinner, and we have a blast. The second Seraphic Fire concert we attended was a program Patrick put together about the impact of Katrina on New Orleans. It was non-traditional for Seraphic Fire but very, very moving, too. We just enjoy listening to good music and live music. We are not aficionados or experts, but they have introduced us to this a cappella music which we just love. Patrick and James just make each piece special and unique with a quality of excellence – every single time. When Seraphic Fire did a performance with Cleveland Orchestra, the Cleveland Orchestra conductor said it was just so pure and so beautiful. Nobody knew that this type of talent had been accumulated by Patrick Quigley down here in South Florida and what a treasure we have. Ana has a passion for education and is one of the leads in developing the Gen S Society [for giving to music education initiatives]; working hard to keep us grounded in South Florida and making a local impact.