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February 28, 2013

Conductors battle for the baton is Sunday


Three community members are preparing for their upcoming appearance with the Catskill Symphony Orchestra’s Guest Conductor Competition at 4 p.m. March 3 at State University College at Oneonta’s Alumni Field House.

The Guest Conductor Competition is held during CSO’s annual Cabaret, and audience members vote for their favorite contestant through donations to CSO, with the winning conductor getting behind the baton for the afternoon’s finale, John Philip Sousa’s “Stars and Stripes Forever.”

This year’s Guest Conductor contenders are: Mike Lynch, Fourth Ward Oneonta City Council member; Jim Maloney, a captain of the City of Oneonta Fire Department; and George Wells, market manager of Townsquare Media.

“It’s a great honor and will be great fun with a few surprises,” Lynch, who is studying the bagpipes, said of the upcoming competition in a media release.

And he doesn’t have butterflies about his upcoming time in the spotlight.

“I’m a politician; no such thing,” he said.

Maloney, who likes to warm up musically with a little kazoo playing, said his grandfather has a history of playing Carnegie Hall. Though, Maloney has stuck to fighting fires.

“I have some conducting experience,” Maloney said in the release, “but only when doing electrical work around the house.”

A tenacious competitor, Wells has been preparing for March 3 with a strict workout routine – running, weightlifting and a little goofing off, the release said. He’s already begun his campaign for the top spot with “an all-out war on the radio and online,” he said.

His words for his rivals: “Watch out.”

The  event sold out in 2012 and is the organization’s largest fundraiser. The Guest Conductor Contest is a highlight during CSO’s Cabaret which, this year, features traditional Irish musicians Cherish the Ladies. CSO will also perform two of Johann Strauss Jr.’s most popular works — “On the Beautiful Blue Danube” and the “Emperor Waltzes.”

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