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Society / Profiles

Fort Worth Proud Philanthropist Embraces the True Power of Music

Cami Goff on Giving Back Like Mom, a Colorful Home and Piano Prodigies

BY Caroline Lidl // 04.24.19
photography Ana Hop

In its third year, NorthPark Center’s Luxury Ambassador program boldly merges the worlds of fashion, art and philanthropy, by way of celebrating Dallas’ top influencers and the nonprofits they support. NorthPark’s chosen few embody a rare-air kind of style — a group that contains equal parts fashion sense, civic leadership and larger-than-life personality.

Here, we catch up with Cami Goff and learn about her passion for the Cliburn and its international competition and festival for pianists aged 13 to 17 that runs from May 31 through June 8 in Dallas this year.

Why the Cliburn. 
Van Cliburn was a dear friend. His beautiful spirit and incredible talents transcended music and changed the landscape of international relations during the Cold War. This demonstrated the amazing power of music.

The Van Cliburn International Piano Competition is now one of the most prestigious competitions in the world, and the Cliburn Junior Competition is encouraging younger pianists (age 13 to 17) and providing them with an invaluable platform. This international spotlight shines brightly on Dallas and Fort Worth as global leaders in classical music.

A benevolent memory. 
I had the extreme honor of sitting next to Van during the 50th Anniversary Gala celebration in 2012. When Van famously won the Tchaikovsky Competition in 1958, a Chinese competitor named Liu Shikun took the silver prize. Shikun underwent years of hard imprisonment and torture after his return to China during the Cultural Revolution, and now is an inspiration for millions of young Chinese pianists.

The two men had not seen each other in 50 years, and he flew all the way to Fort Worth, Texas, to celebrate with Van that night in 2012. To sit with these two brilliant men and see how their shared love of music kept them close over many continents and cultural divides was something I will never forget.

Philanthropic influencers.
Definitely my mom. I was raised with very modest means. My family’s type of giving was not writing checks and attending big black-tie galas, but my mother always found a way to give back to the community. From starting an annual children’s carnival at our neighborhood community center to encouraging all her children to find ways to help others, my mom always made sure we were making a difference.

I started volunteering at local hospitals when I was high school. There’s nothing like helping others to put all things in life in perspective!

NorthPark Center is at the center of combining art and fashion. Describe your own art and fashion interests. 
My love of fashion began while I was a house model for Neiman Marcus in Houston in the 1980s!  I love classic lines with an edgy feel. Life should not be boring and we should never take ourselves too seriously! You can see that in my clothes and in my home.

I just spent four years designing and building a new home. No more neutral grays and beige!  Every room is saturated in color, texture, and contemporary art! Definitely not boring.

The perfect day.
Any day spent with my husband, our kids, and grandkids is a perfect day! John and I have a blended family of five kids (ages 17 to 36) and five grandkids (eight months to 9 years), and we are a tight-knit group. Nothing makes us happier than to have everyone over to CC and Papa’s house on the weekends.

Your day job.
Like most women, I wear many hats. In addition to raising our kids, my husband has always included me in all areas of his business. I particularly enjoy the hospitality side which includes ownership of Canyon Ranch Health and Wellness Resorts, The Ritz Carlton, Dallas, and the Hotel Crescent Court.

We also have the Goff Family Foundation, which started an El Sistema-based after-school music program in an at-risk neighborhood in Fort Worth — less than five miles from our home. We truly believe we are changing lives through music.

Looking forward.  
Definitely the Cliburn International Junior Piano Competition. An impressive 230 young pianists from 32 countries applied to come to Dallas to compete. We can’t wait to welcome the chosen 24 competitors this May. We will be privileged to get to know them and to witness their wonderful talent.

John and I are delighted to serve on the host committee for this far-reaching international event — the first major Cliburn program to be held in Dallas.

NorthPark memory.
Bringing my young daughters there for the first time after moving from Houston to Fort Worth in 2005.  Seeing the beautiful art, architecture, and public areas was breathtaking. I knew from the first time we arrived that we would be spending a lot of time on I-30 for this shopping experience.

Advice to your younger self.
If you cannot dream it, you cannot achieve it! Looking back at my life, my biggest regrets are not the things I did, but rather the things I did not do.

On the horizon in 2019.
Our son is getting married at our home in June, and our daughter is making her Fort Worth debut in the fall. John and I love entertaining at home with family and friends!

For more information on Cliburn and tickets to the renowned junior competition, click here.

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