For The Love of Music, Dance and Interlochen

What do you do if you love classical music, dance and Interlochen?

For Mary Hughes, daughter of Robert and Ruth Haidt Hughes, it has meant guiding her parent’s legacy at Interlochen.

Robert and Mary’s favorite classical radio station was Interlochen Public Radio, and the first part of their legacy was to help build the station’s classical music library.

Her parents gave generously during their lives to IPR. But Robert planned to support IPR long into the future with an estate gift, establishing the Robert T. & Ruth Haidt Hughes Memorial Acquisitions Fund for IPR. This fund has helped the station purchase thousands of recordings and is still helping IPR expand its musical library today.

Next, Robert took his joy of the arts, love for his wife and desire to support Interlochen’s dance program and did more. Ruth was a professional dancer. In fact, she was the first American to dance with the Ballet Russe De Monte Carlo, and she also worked with choreographers Léonide Massine and George Balanchine.

When Ruth passed away in 1991, he established the Ruth Haidt Hughes Memorial Endowed Dance Scholarship in her memory. Since then, this endowed scholarship has helped more than 20 dancers attend Interlochen Arts Academy, including scholarship recipient Mark Lambert, pictured here with Mary.

After her father passed in 2003, Mary continued the Hughes’ story. According to Mary, “I had a desire to see how my father’s bequests benefitted IPR and dance scholarship recipients.”

Recalling how her parents’ love for Interlochen began with IPR, Mary remembers:

“[Dad] established a legacy at IPR in part because of the personal friendships that he and my mother developed with Thom Paulson [longtime former IPR General Manager], Phil Haldeman [longtime former IPR morning host] and other employees of the station. They enjoyed stopping by and visiting. They listened to IPR every day and appreciated the classical music programs.”

Now the next generation of IPR employees is getting to know Mary. IPR Classical Music Host Amanda Sewell noted that the Hughes’ endowment makes the New Release of the Week feature she hosts possible.

“Thanks to the Hughes Fund, Classical IPR was able to launch a New Release of the Week feature at the beginning of 2017. The support from the Hughes Fund means we can choose and cultivate our music library, making sure we’re bringing the very best options to our listeners.”

Mary continues her parents’ legacy with her own philanthropy, making a recent gift to support the digitization of archived material at IPR, one of the station’s highest priorities in CREATE AMAZING: The Campaign for Interlochen.

“IPR deserves to be supported for its quality programing, preserving the audio history of Interlochen, and as a resource for its students and others.” —Mary Hughes

Thanks to the generosity of Robert and Ruth during and after their lives—and now to their daughter Mary’s continued stewardship and philanthropy—IPR can expand and preserve its classical music library, and aspiring dancers can come to Interlochen with support from their endowed scholarship.

We are grateful for more music, more dance and a richer artistic world thanks to Robert, Ruth and Mary Hughes.