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Szilagyi Family Foundation gives to WVU Wind Symphony

Imre and Janet Szilgayi at the Great Wall of China

When the West Virginia University Wind Symphony takes the stage in China, they will be doing so, in part, thanks to the Szilagyi Family Foundation. 

Imre and Janet Szilagyi, of Kingwood, spent their life building Appalachian Wildwaters, a whitewater rafting company that guided guests down the New, Gauley and Cheat Rivers in West Virginia. When they retired, the Szilagyis created their Foundation as a way to give back while celebrating their successful careers.

Important members of the Mountain State’s tourism industry, the Szilagyis understand the importance of exploring the world and enjoy traveling themselves. One of the couple’s favorite trips was a month-long excursion to China.

“We had an incredible experience in China that was life changing,” Imre said. “We saw the world differently when we returned home, and that’s the real goal of travel.”

The Szilagyis also have a passion for music. Janet, who graduated from WVU with a master’s degree in social work, plays the flute, and is involved with the WVU Flute program, attending workshops and recitals given by faculty, students and guest artists.

While attending a WVU Wind Symphony performance, the Szilagyis learned of the ensemble’s upcoming performance tour in China and decided to help contribute to their fundraising efforts.

“The opportunity to support this trip made sense because it integrated both music and travel,” Janet said. “It also gave me the opportunity to support the Wind Symphony’s flutists that I have come to know through my involvement with the Flute Studio.”

Approximately 70 students, many of them West Virginia natives, will make the trip to China to perform.

“We are happy to be in a position to give back and support these students who may have never had this experience otherwise,” Imre said.

For more information on the WVU Wind Symphony’s performance tour in China, visit To help support their trip, visit