The Durham Symphony Orchestra starts rehearsals tomorrow for their series of pops concerts at the end of April/beginning of May. The concerts will be April 20 at 5pm in Trinity Park, April 27 at 3pm in Cameron Park, and May 3 at 6pm at the Farmer’s Market Pavilion in Durham Central Park. All the concerts are free and open to the public.

These concerts should be interesting as they are the first ones since Conductor Emeritus Alan Neilson retired. The Durham Symphony plans to host guest conductors until a replacement for Maestro Neilson is found. Up first will be Andrew McAfee who is the Music Director/Conductor for the Triangle Youth Ballet and Durham Intermediate Youth Orchestra and Adjunct Instructor of Horn at UNC. He was also formerly the principal Horn for the North Carolina Symphony from 1992 to 2007.

Maestro McAfee has started off by e-mailing the orchestra a complete schedule down to the minute of what he expects to cover during our rehearsal on Tuesday. This is actually the first time I’ve ever had a conductor do that and I find that I actually like it quite a bit. It lets the instrumentalists know what the expectations are and doesn’t leave us wondering how much more we need to cover in the rehearsal. As to whether the reality will actually fit the schedule, that remains to be seen, but I am hopeful.