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Michael Avagliano

March 14, 2005 at 7:07 PM

It's funny how somehow I never seem to be writing about the violin... I guess that I don't worry about playing the violin very much, since I only seem to write about what worries me.

Speaking of worries, a very important board meeting for the CJSO is tonight. This is (apparently) when the board will decide whether to allow the current music director to return to his position after a 1-year sabbatical, or offer the position to me. And either way, the board is putting me in a very difficult position.

If they vote to offer me the job and I accept it, I then have the unenviable appearance of looking as if I took the rug out from under his feet. In this position, the orchestra probably wouldn't respond favorably to me anymore, and it could make life very difficult on the podium. That's not a nice place to be in.

But if he comes back, then the board has placed him in the same untenable position, because I go back to the concertmaster's chair. A good portion of the orchestra likes and appreciates me as conductor (I hope, anyway) -- and they might not respond well to him, which makes life difficult for him on the podium. So what's the solution?

I told our board president that I was not campaigning for the job or actively seeking it in any way. But if the board were to decide to offer it to me, I would consider the offer -- only consider, not accept. It's the only way I could get a little time to think things over.

I hate politics. I always have. It's the only part of being a music director that I really have no taste for. Unfortunately, though, it's a part of life for a conductor, especially at the community orchestra level, where the orchestra's survival is dependent on the goodwill of the volunteer members. I care about this orchestra, and about its future. Whether I'm involved as music director or concertmaster, I think of it as "my" orchestra -- that it's my responsibility to keep it healthy and help ensure its survival. But this is the sort of thing that can tear a community group apart, and I don't want to be party to that. So I guess I'll just have to wait and see what happens.

There's good news, though -- an unexpected influx of volunteers, including one (possibly two) through And it looks like the orchestra's finances for the May concert are all in order -- we have enough money to pay for it (always a good sign). Hopefully I won't have to hire any extra violinists, which would be a great help moneywise. More than that, too -- if the orchestra doesn't get new volunteers every so often, there's no way it can survive. I'd like to think that I've created some positive buzz for the CJSO, and I hope we can keep it going in the coming seasons, no matter what happens.

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