By William Laney
The affable Ed Like, New York City born and bred, is president of the Beaufort Symphony Orchestra Board, which, under the direction of Maestro Fred Devyatkin, just successfully launched it’s 2013-2014 season at the University of South Carolina Beaufort Center for the Arts.
The Beaufort Symphony Orchestra made its debut in 1986 with 14 founding members. It has blossomed into a full symphony orchestra consisting of 50 community and professional musicians with broad support in the community from many generous individuals and businesses.
Says Ed with a smile about his time as president of the board, “I like to say that I am in the seventh year of my two-year term.”
It was his great love of classical music that brought him to this job after retiring to Dataw Island after being the General Agent Manager and owner of The Guardian Life Insurance Co. in Little Neck, N.Y. Ed has always been interested in classical music and played the base fiddle in his Erasmus Hall High School orchestra.
He was asked to join the Beaufort Symphony Orchestra board as treasurer nine years ago, and after two years was elected its president.
Ed met the love of his life, Ellen, in New York and they were married in Northport, N.Y., 27 years ago. Ellen was the disability income supervisor in the Little Neck, N.Y., agency for the Guardian Life Insurance Co.
They have four children: one in London, one in New York, one in Florida, and one in Oregon. They also have eight grandchildren whom they adore.
How did the Likes find Beaufort all the way from New York?
Ed said, “One of our sales agents visited Dataw and gave our names to the real estate people here. After some time we decided to visit and we fell in love with this beautiful community. We were boaters and the marina here was one of the attractions. Ellen and I took up golf and Ellen became very involved with her tennis activities. We built our home 17 years ago and moved in full time at the end of 1998. We were native born New Yorkers and never looked back.”
Adds Ellen, “This town and surrounding areas are so beautiful and it offers so many interesting activities. The folks are friendly and we never cease to wonder at everyone always waving hello to each other.”
As far as their charity involvement, Ellen has worked at CAPA, Special Friends and Meals on Wheels. Ed worked for Second Helpings for several years before becoming president of the orchestra board.
Ed says he has really enjoyed working with the members of the orchestra board and Maestro Devyatkin to bring quality music to the folks in this area.
“Watching this orchestra grow to become world class has been a wonderful experience for me, as well as our board members, and we hope our audience. It has been a very gratifying experience and I am glad to be a part of it,” he said.
Have there been any surprises along the way?
Ed says, “I guess I never expected that our orchestra would become so accepted and popular and that we have many wonderful supporters.”
As for the future of the orchestra, Ed says, “I know that change is very desirable and necessary. We seem to be able to do that with programing. Events like last year’s ‘Side by Side’ extra concert featuring the 50 members of the youth orchestra on stage with the 50 members of the adult orchestra. I guess as long as my board members want me to stay on, I will be there for them.”
The community gives a big thanks to Ed. His continued devotion to the orchestra is music to our ears.