BLUE ASH (WKRC) - The conductor of the Cincinnati Community Orchestra (CCO) is retiring this weekend after 35 years.
The CCO is made up of volunteers who have diverse day jobs but share the same passion for music.
Gerry Doan stepped in as musical director and conductor and raised the bar.
"A great teacher and that is why we've advanced as much as we have. He can work with very young students and octogenarians," says Eric Bruestle who's been with the orchestra for 45 years.
He's an attorney now but went to the University of Cincinnati's College Conservatory of Music.
"I decided to make music my hobby instead of my career and this has been a tremendous opportunity for me and so many others like me in the orchestra."
The CCO rehearses every Monday evening and the group performs four free concerts throughout the year. "They have to love it because it's hard. It's hard work and they had to have had good training somewhere along the line and then they come back and I whip them up into shape," says Doan.
Many of the musicians in the orchestra have worked with Doan since they were children; whether he gave them private lessons or they played in his Cincinnati Junior Strings group. Erin Houterloot has played with Doan since she was 7 years old.
"He brings a lot of experience, a lot of expertise, and he's really turned it into a loving group I think where people feel like it's their home," says Houterloot.
Saturday is Doan's final performance with the CCO. The musicians will perform some of his favorite works. He says they're romantic and emotional. "Luckily my back is to the audience. They can't see the tears!"
The concert is at 7:30 p.m. at Church of the Savior United Methodist in Blue Ash.