Donor Spotlight: Dr. Robert "Bob" Rubenstein and Marie Raftery

Some people may not think of a dental office as a particularly romantic setting, between the root canals, fillings, and X-rays. For Dr. Robert “Bob” Rubenstein and Marie Raftery, it is where they began their relationship 38 years ago. “He was a patient in the dental office where I was working,” said Marie. “He had a nice sense of humor and beautifully dressed, so when he asked me out, I thought, ‘this could be interesting.’” Bob and Marie come from two very different worlds. She grew up in Boston attending the symphony and the ballet, while he grew up in New Mexico attending the rodeo and listening to country western and mariachi. But one thing they both share is their love of music. “If you think back to Henry David Thoreau, said Bob, “even though people may march to the beat of a different drum, they still all have a beat.” 

While Marie grew up attending symphony concerts and learning classical music in school, Bob discovered orchestral music in medical school through one of his roommates. “Every now and then he would play some record and say, ‘I think you might like this,’ and I did,” said Bob. “When I went to Philadelphia for my Ophthalmic Surgery residency, with what few dollars I had I got season tickets to the symphony, the seats were way up high, but it was worth it.”  Bob and Marie became involved with the San Diego Symphony through their good friend, Herb Solomon. “I thought it was an institution that San Diego needed,” said Bob, “so we decided to donate.” Since then, they have been dedicated supporters of the San Diego Symphony, giving generously toward various campaigns, and as members of the Partner with a Player program.  

Through the Partner with a Player program, Bob and Marie have been able to experience the orchestra more intimately. “It is rewarding to get to meet the players and hear their stories,” said Marie, “it is a wonderful opportunity.” She continued, “I love watching Rafael Payare conduct the orchestra too! It is as much entertainment for me as anything else I can imagine. He has so much energy and is so involved. And the players respond beautifully to him. It is just pure joy for me.” 

As philanthropists, Bob and Marie focus on education and community engagement. “Most of the nonprofits that we support have a community service component to them,” said Marie. “As we give back, we like to invest in nonprofits that also give back to the community.” The San Diego Symphony is strongly committed to the city it calls home and offers a range of programs and opportunities for members of the San Diego area. Through its Impact and Innovation Department, and with the support of donors like Bob and Marie, the Symphony provides free concerts, free tickets to various community groups, music education programs for multiple age groups, and more. “I am very proud of our Symphony,” said Marie. “It does indeed provide a great deal of service and culture for San Diego.”

With summer on the horizon, Bob and Marie are excited to be back at The Rady Shell at Jacobs Park™ to enjoy the orchestra, and all that the  season has in store. “The Shell is, and will always be, an iconic fixture in San Diego,” said Bob, “and it’s bringing in new audiences.” Marie added, “It is a legacy that new arrivals to San Diego need to experience.”  


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