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In the Loop
Friends and Giving : Jun 23, 2016

Friends of Music president passes torch

By Brandon McKinley

After a 10-year legacy, Friends of Music (FOM) President Cherie Fine has passed on the reins of the School of Music’s (SOM) booster organization.

Cherie Fine, lawyer at Fine, Farkash & Parlapiano, has served as the President of FOM since 2007, but at the Friends’ meeting in May someone volunteered to take on the duties of president.

Jim Theriac joined FOM about a year ago and will now serve as the 2016-2017 President.

“I felt that it was time I step up and contribute to the organization,” Theriac said.

When Fine first joined FOM, she got the sense that the organization was starting to head in a different direction than it had been when it initially formed.

Shelly Melvin was the president at the time Fine joined, and she was pushing for a goal to raising more money for the school by implementing more fundraising efforts.

One of Melvin’s contributions was organizing a music performance event at the university president’s house to raise funds.

When Fine became FOM President, she helped turn the efforts into a big signature event dedicated to raising money for the school.

“I took from what Shelly had in mind and just said, ‘You know, we should make this a nighttime event and include dinner and really try to raise more money,’” Fine said.

Now a premier annual collaborative event between the Friends of Music and the Friends of Theatre and Dance, “Splendor” raises about $50,000 annually that the Friends use for providing student scholarships and supporting the SOM ambassador program.  

Fine said that one of the main tasks of being president is motivation. In addition to running the meetings, she said that in order to accomplish the goals of the group, she had to allow people to take on the positions that they could excel at and that fitted their different talents. The board members are exceptional people and are wonderful to work with she said.  

Fine has hosted a number of events for FOM to encourage interactions between the SOM faculty and the Friends.

“I think that it’s even more fabulous to be working for the School of Music if you get to talk to faculty and students who are doing really interesting things and producing really wonderful performances,” Fine said. “Then you really have a sense of why you’re doing what you’re doing. I think it gets the members of the board even more motivated to work harder to raise the funds that we want to be able to give to the school.”

Theriac said his favorite part of being with the FOM has been meeting the most talented and interesting people imaginable.

“They believe passionately in the transformative powers of music and the need to share it with everyone,” he said.

Theriac said he looks forward to increasing the number of gifts to FOM as the new president, and he wants to enlist the help of people who can assist the Friends in showing what world-class people and music there is at UF. 

As for Fine, she really finds the history of the friends to be important and might take on the task of preserving the organization’s past now that her duties as president are over. But for now, she still plans on serving on the board in whatever way Theriac sees fit.

“Cherie is a treasure,” Theriac said.

Her advice for Theriac: Enjoy it.