Jim and Susan Budros sponsor the Joey Alexander Trio in honor of their 50th wedding anniversary

It goes that you should give tin for the 10th, silver for the 25th and gold for the 50th, but Susan and Jim Budros had another idea.

To celebrate their 50th wedding anniversary, the Budroses chose to veer from tradition and treat themselves, and the rest of the Chautauqua community, to the golden talents of the Joey Alexander Trio.

Thanks to the Budroses’ sponsorship, the Joey Alexander Trio will be performing at 8:15 p.m. Thursday in the Amphitheater.

Joey Alexander is an 14-year-old jazz piano prodigy who was born on the island of Bali. He made his American debut performing at Jazz at Lincoln Center’s Rose Hall in 2014 after an invitation from Wynton Marsalis, artistic director of Jazz at Lincoln Center.

“Joey is not something you can even explain!” Marsalis told The San Diego Union-Tribune. “We’ve never had anyone like him in this music, not with that harmonic maturity.”

Marsalis visited Chautauqua last year when he hosted Week Nine, themed “America’s Music with Wynton Marsalis and Jazz at Lincoln Center,” and it was the announcement of this visit that inspired the Budroses to reach out to Vice President and Director of Programming Deborah Sunya Moore and request that Joey Alexander come to Chautauqua as well.

“It came about through our interest in Wynton Marsalis,” Jim Budros said. “(In early 2016) I … sent a ‘To Whom It May Concern’ email and said, ‘Wynton’s coming this summer, we should try to figure out a way to get Joey Alexander here.’ ”

When the Budroses learned it wasn’t going to be possible to bring Alexander to the grounds for the 2016 season, they decided to provide the financial means necessary to support a performance from him in 2017.

It was to be “our gift on our anniversary,” Susan Budros said.

The Budros celebrated their 50th anniversary on Aug. 12. This is their first full season at Chautauqua, as they purchased a condo on the grounds only just last year and are self-professed “newbies” around the place.

The couple said that along with their passion for music and interest in Marsalis and Alexander, it is also their grandchildren who inspired their desire to underwrite Thursday’s performance.

“Our grandchildren are Joey’s age,” Jim Budros said. “To know a kid … who has this extraordinary music in his head just naturally is an inspiration.”

“That sort of rang a bell with us,” Susan Budros added. “The Wynton Marsalis week was so well received, we just thought, ‘Wow, (what) if we could have a little more this summer, too?’ ”

For more information on program underwriting opportunities, contact Karen Blozie, senior major gifts officer at the Chautauqua Foundation, at 716-357-6244 or

Tags : AmphitheaterjazzJoey Alexander Trioweek nine
Meaghan Wilby

The author Meaghan Wilby

Meaghan Wilby covers the Lincoln Series in Applied Ethics as well as special lectures and programs, and works with the Chautauqua Foundation to cover development activities. Originally from New Zealand, she recently graduated from Allegheny College with a B.A. in English. She played four years of varsity basketball at Allegheny and was an editor for The Campus newspaper for two years. She can be reached at