The Chertock Family; Gives the Gift of Music and Joy
Michael Chertock and his family came forward to support The Center for Respite Care beginning in 2014. They were not asked. They just did.
Left to Right: Michael, Maaike, Marius, Joshua, and Maria Chertock
And all of these years later, they endure. The family annually performs a fundraising concert that donates handily to the Center. Their audience gets to hear world class music and support one of the region’s most important organizations. And this music is provided by serious professionals.
“We are so pleased to name the Chertock Family as one of this year’s transformation honorees. Just knowing them is an honor,” Ed Slater, Chief Advancement Officer, said.
In 2004, Michael Chertock joined the faculty of the University of Cincinnati, College-Conservatory of Music (CCM), where he is currently chair of the Piano Department. He made his debut at 17, performing the Rachmaninoff Piano Concerto No. 3 with Andrew Litton conducting.
Chertock made his Carnegie Hall debut in 1999 with the Cincinnati Pops Orchestra. His 2003 performance on the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra’s recording of Petrouchka with Paavo Järvi received rave reviews.
In 2005, Chertock with Maestro Lockhart and the National Youth Orchestra of London. Later that year, Chertock performed the world premiere of “Jeux Deux” for hyper-piano and orchestra by Todd Machover, commissioned by the Boston Pops expressly for him.
Along with benefit concerts for Habitat for Humanity, the Michael Chertock and Friends Holiday Concerts on behalf of Center for Respite Care have been held since 2014.
The annual event is held in the sanctuary of Sycamore Presbyterian Church. This year’s virtual concert raised the third highest sum. In total over $35,000 has been raised.
Michael lives in Mason, Ohio with his wife Maaike and their children Maria, Joshua, and Marius. Joining the rest of the amazing gathering of musical artists, all three of their talented children have regularly performed at the benefit.
“Michael and his family are well-known professionals. They are prodigies with talent that there are few words to describe. CCM (where Michael teaches) is known for its excellence and the Chertocks are the best of the best. We are blessed that they use their talents for good,” Laurel Nelson, CEO for The Center for Respite Care said.
When asked how his family feels about this honor, he speaks humbly;
“My family is so honored, and we feel very unworthy.
We have hosting a music event fundraiser for the past seven years.
It started with my eldest daughter who was in high school at the time.”
His eldest, Maria (nearly 23) is already recording music under the name Maria BC. She was 16 when the family commenced the annual Center event.
The whole family plays in the annual event which includes the other two teens Joshua (15) and Marius (13.)
Marius sings and Joshua plays the piano.
Michael explains how they came to develop their annual event:
“We were invited by a Pastor named Larry Kent when the church opened a new sanctuary. They called and asked if I would be willing to give a program near Christmas. I decided to — with my daughter. Larry selected the Center. Santa Ono (UC President) was the honorary Chair (for the Center (at the time) and that made them a good selection. (due to Michael’s faculty appointment at CCM.) About 600 people came. We sold CD’s and gave the proceeds to the Center.”
He explains that once Maria went to college, the other children got more involved.
“When Maria went to college, the younger kids were getting into music in their own way. My son is hoping, for his Eagle Scout project to organize one in December. He wants to invite some of his school buddies to play.”
The family is spread thin with significant community work but makes times for issues that improve quality of life for all.
“My wife is a parish administrator for two churches. She has always been interested in people experiencing homelessness.”
Their relationship with the Center, he explains, has taught them much:
“It opened all of our eyes to the problem to what to do when you are homeless and need continuing treatment.
It is incredible to see all of these ministries occupying this space together.”