Gary Melbostad: Retired Musician Series

Gary Melbostad, flute/piccolo
Retired at the end of the 2022/2023 season
Years involved: 1974-2023
Retired after: 49 years

In his own words…

“I began playing in 5th grade, which means I’ve been playing about 64 years. I loved being in the symphony because I was part of a caring, well-run organization – actually, it’s being part of a family you love and care about. And the feeling of doing something others enjoy and appreciate; of playing in, being surrounded by and immersed in the sound of a performance or rehearsal.

Retiring from this organization is one of the hardest decisions I’ve made. I wish it could go on much longer, but it’s an appropriate time. I have hope and confidence the staff, audience and larger community will continue to support this fine organization.

To recall memories–more for my benefit than for a history of the RSO– I remember being at the Chatfield stage when I was in junior and senior high school. Our high school (Spring Grove, MN) would play for band contests. When I played in the band at Luther College, I never had the opportunity to play in a symphony setting with only two or three flutes (instead of like 12). About two years after my graduation in 1970, I began to realize I really missed playing.

I tried playing with local groups (like the Chatfield Brass Band) and eventually learned of auditions for the symphony. I was able to meet the existing 2nd chair flutist (who I learned would be retiring). I can recall seeing Anne Judish singing in a stage performance of Tosca during this time. My first recollection of a performance was Tchaikovsky’s 5th symphony.

At the start, I played 2nd flute, but a time came where a decision had to be made about which of us would play 3rd with piccolo vs 2nd. Because I had a young family and thought the 3rd flute/piccolo would be less demanding time-wise, I offered to take the 3rd. I grew to like doing piccolo even though there were times when I wasn’t part of a concert performance.

I want to thank the entire Rochester Symphony staff, board and audience participants for the support each of you have given me over the years. It’s hard to say something meaningful to show my appreciation, but here goes …

When I first auditioned for the Rochester symphony, I didn’t really expect to become part of a symphony orchestra or be able to participate in the many performances over the years. In fact, I was just looking for a venue to be able to play my flute. It’s a tribute to the hard work, dedication and tremendous efforts of everyone who has kept the symphony vibrant and “alive” that allowed me to feel part of this family. I’m happy to have been able to observe the growth of this organization through exciting (but sometimes difficult) times. But I can now reflect on how important music has been to my well-being–but also, I think, to the well-being of our regional community.”

Our Retired Musician Series pays tribute to the talented musicians retiring from the Rochester Symphony. View our current musician roster.

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