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Donor Spotlight: Judy Roudebush

May 20, 2021

Donor Judy Roudebush meets violinist Joshua Bell backstage at the Palladium.

Judy Roudebush is a longtime donor to the Songbook Foundation, motivated by her passion to preserve the Songbook and make it accessible to future generations. Judy supports the Songbook Foundation through her retirement account. Learn more about Judy and how she supports the Songbook Foundation below.


Hello Judy and thank you for supporting the Songbook Foundation over the past nine years. I know you’re passionate about the Songbook, can you tell me what the preservation of the Great American Songbook means to you?


Preserving the Great American Songbook is of huge importance to me because it is keeping the history of our country alive. I also have a personal connection to the music, which taught me history through musicals such as Oklahoma! and South Pacific. I know the Songbook can similarly teach the children of today.


One of my very favorite songs is "Climb Ev’ry Mountain" from The Sound of Music. Rodgers and Hammerstein’s message of exploring every opportunity is an important message for everyone, no matter their generation.


Audra McDonald singing "Climb Ev'ry Mountain" at the Kennedy Center in 2019


I greatly enjoyed watching Michael Feinstein’s virtual holiday special, Twelve Songs of the Season, featuring Songbook Academy alumni. Michael was able to share such rich history and stories detailing Irvin Berlin’s Christmas songs and how Americans uniquely celebrate the holiday. It is moving to me to think of American composers such as Irving Berlin, one of my favorites, informing the world view of the next generation. I learned a lot just from that special!


"The Most Wonderful Time of the Year" sung by Indiana Songbook Academy alumni


Why do you think it’s important to preserve the artifacts of the Songbook?


When you have experienced the music and love the music, whomever you are, and you see the original piece of music, which may be annotated in the composer’s own hand, it is one of the most moving experiences you can have. I think preserving these original artifacts of the Songbook is important to creating and deepening the connection people have with the music, and I’m looking forward to touring the Songbook Foundation’s Library & Archives soon.


How did you first learn about the Great American Songbook Foundation?


As one of the original Board Members of the Center for the Performing Arts I first learned about the Great American Songbook Foundation, which is affiliated with the Center, at the opening ceremonies for the Palladium. I have such a deep-seated love for the music of the Songbook and have been happy to support the organization over the years. It is where my heart is!


My husband and I moved back to the area because we wanted to raise our family here. Assets like the Great American Songbook Foundation and the Center for the Performing Arts make this a great community to raise a family in.


What motivated you to become a donor to the Songbook Foundation?


I have a passion for the preservation of the artifacts Michael Feinstein has conserved. But more than simply preserving these artifacts, they must be made accessible to the public. I have been involved in choral music since I was 3 and enjoyed participating in musicals in high school such as Carousel. I have continued to serve the Indianapolis area musical community through board service, as a patron of the arts, and as a donor.


Michael Feinstein in a recent episode of "In the Archives with Michael Feinstein"


I know that my donations to the Great American Songbook Foundation are allowing for the ongoing preservation and accessibility of the Songbook, both for current and future generations.


What is your preferred gift vehicle and why?


For me and my financial situation it makes the most sense to make donations to the Great American Songbook Foundation through a retirement account. I must take a distribution from the retirement account each year, and that would be taxable income, but if I choose to use that as my primary vehicle for donations the amount I gift directly to nonprofit organizations is not taxed. According to my financial advisors that is the best way for me to support the charities I love such as the Songbook Foundation.


Please note: This information is not intended to serve as tax or accounting advice. Please consult your tax advisor.



Judy, thank you so much for sharing a bit about your

experience as a donor.

We appreciate your passion for the

Songbook and teaching it to future generations.