Born and raised in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, Barry and June were both educated at Carnegie Mellon University, where June’s father had been a much beloved professor. Barry spent his career in electrical engineering and June worked as an editor of books and magazines and still does some editing for the Pittsburgh Symphony. The couple met while taking ice skating lessons and each have two children from previous marriages, with four grandchildren and a great grandchild who is almost 18 months old. The Dietrichs have spent many summers at Chautauqua, the institution in southwestern New York that comes alive each summer with lectures, performances, and recreation for all ages. In fact, six generations of Dietrichs have attended Chautauqua.
While health issues have slowed them down of late, Barry and June love traveling, particularly in Europe and South America, and riverboat cruises have been their favorite way to see the world. Music, however, has been Barry’s most enduring hobby. Beyond listening, Barry has been playing the violin since childhood and picked up the viola after college. Not the only musician in his family, Barry fondly recalled an aunt, who in his words was a “fantastically good pianist” and played recitals until she was 92, as well as his twin uncles who played violin and viola.
Shelter Music Boston is fortunate to have the generous support of such kindred spirits who are so intimately connected to and moved by the power of music. Last fall, the Dietrichs made the trip to Boston for SMB’s Music & Meaning Benefit Concert and they hope to return this year for one of our shelter concerts. According to Barry, it is “marvelous that the players are all professionals working with people who are down and out and homeless,” and told us that he and June give to SMB because it is a “worthy cause and unusual commitment.” SMB is proud to have a place among the other meaningful organizations the Dietrichs support, including the ACLU, Southern Poverty Law Center, and Freedom from Religion Foundation. In his direct and honest approach to conversation, Barry said, “I want to support those groups that are working toward those things that I think need to be done.”
All of us at Shelter Music Boston are deeply grateful to Barry and June Dietrich for their friendship and their enthusiastic belief in our mission.