DCSO Conductor to Pass Baton After 20 Years


Tracey Rush has announced that she will retire as conductor from NISOM’s Dubuque Community String Orchestra (DCSO) at the end of this season – the ensemble’s 20th. NISOM is currently seeking a conductor to begin with the 2018-2019 season.

Rush has been DCSO’s conductor since she founded the ensemble in 1998 to give adult amateur musicians an outlet for ensemble performance. The group is non-auditioned and welcomes adult string players of all ages, part of NISOM’s mission of making music accessible to all. The ensemble’s first concert was playing Christmas carols at a senior center. Since then, DCSO has performed 52 concerts and featured works composed around the world throughout history. In addition to traditional string music, selections have included music from operas, ballets, movies, Broadway, television, and styles of pop, rock, folk, jazz, swing, and more.

“I have loved working with these wonderful musicians these many years, but it is time for a new face on the podium, someone with fresh ideas,” says Rush.

DCSO celebrated their 20th season with a special concert in November 2017 that featured some of the group’s favorite selections from the first 19 seasons. Rush was especially proud of the musicians’ performance of the first movement of Bach’s Brandenburg Concerto #3. Rush says, “In our fourth season, they struggled with the student arrangement of this challenging piece. Two years later they wanted to try again, and they were able to perform that arrangement without a conductor. In season 20, they masterfully performed Bach’s original version, which is much more difficult, again without a conductor.”

20 Years of DCSO by the Numbers:

350 – works performed
149 – composers featured
58 – soloists
19 – concert venues
5 – world premiers

Final Bow

Rush will take her final bow at a free spring concert on April 29, 2018 at 4:00 PM at Westminster Presbyterian Church. For the spring concert, DCSO will join forces with NISOM’s other non-auditioned ensemble New Horizons Band, which is conducted by Glenn Pohland. The concert will feature favorite works of both conductors.

Play with DCSO

Both ensembles are now accepting new members for the Spring 2018 semester. The DCSO semester will begin on February 19 with a free open rehearsal, and New Horizons Band will hold an open rehearsal on February 6. The public is invited to sit in with the groups or try them free during the open rehearsals. 

Conduct DCSO

NISOM is now seeking a conductor to begin in July for DCSO’s next season. The conductor serves as music director and can select repertoire and establish concert and rehearsal schedules. Interested candidates should submit a resume and letter of interest to NISOM by February 1. Learn more at Employment

NISOM thanks DCSO 2017-2018 podium sponsors Tim and Christine Conlon.


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