Annual Fund Sustaining Donor Profile: Jean Hurst

Hailing from a small town in Connecticut, Jean Hurst grew up wanting to be a nurse.  She attended the Hartford School of Nursing, became an R.N. and eventually became an Assistant Head Nurse of her hospital’s Emergency Room, where she met her late husband Victor Hurst: the head of Cardiology there.   This was a second marriage for them both, and between the two, they had five children ages 8 – 18 when they married.  “We had two children in college for 12 years:  it was a dramatic time!” Jean notes with a smile. They counted on their mutual love for classical music to always provide some calm.

Jean and Victor eventually moved to St. Petersburg, Florida, but summers found them in Rockport, where Jean’s late sister Beverly and her husband, Rockport Music co-founder Paul Sylva, lived.  In 1981, the family bought a small condo in Rockport for Jean and Beverly’s mother, Jean Williams, in a beautiful, old home diagonally across the street from what would later become the Shalin Liu Performance Center.

Meanwhile, Paul, Lila Deis and David Alpher were busy pulling together a chamber music festival in Rockport, and the rest is dazzling history.  Jean Hurst, her mother and sister all joyfully volunteered for the Rockport Music Chamber Music Festival in those early days at the Rockport Art Association.  Jean and Victor moved to town full-time in 2017, and now, Jean — along with Paul and Christine Sylva — own that home across from the hall and love the location.

“I wasn’t sure that it would ever be the same – as special – in the hall, but the first time I sat there and the music started, tears came to my eyes,” recalls Jean.  “Rockport Music has given me so much.  Victor and I became Sustaining Donors to the Annual Fund years ago because it just feels easy.  It’s an automatic, monthly gift on my credit card.  I don’t have to think about it, and it makes it easier to give a larger gift than if it was all at one time,” says Jean.

“Music has always been an important part of my life.  It calms me.  It brings me joy.  Sometimes when I am sitting in the hall and a pianist is playing a soul-touching piece, the feeling is irreplaceable.  I miss that now.  Being with the other patrons, the music becomes a community experience as well as a personal experience,” Jean reflects.  “If anyone could afford to make even a small, monthly gift to Rockport Music as a Sustaining Donor, it will help to keep this incredible music available here.”

For more information on becoming a Sustaining Donor of Rockport Music’s Annual Fund, please contact Director of Development Lori Correale at 978-546-7391 x 103 or

Top Photo: Jean and Victor Hurst