Longmont Symphony’s Super Conductor contest keeping the pulse alive with extended deadline to vote

Three community members vying to lead the orchestra

The Longmont Symphony Orchestra performs in 2016 at Skyline High School. The symphony is holding its Super Conductor contest right now.
The Longmont Symphony Orchestra performs in 2016 at Skyline High School. The symphony is holding its Super Conductor contest right now.

Longmont Symphony Orchestra’s annual Super Conductor fundraiser puts a community member — regardless of musical experience — in the director’s seat, allowing the winner to orchestrate the ensemble’s rhythm at a future concert.

The trio of contenders, announced at a pre-COVID concert in February, were set to be introduced at the Longmont Symphony Orchestra’s yearly Fourth of July concert at Thompson Park. Then the pandemic hit.

Like many creative industries, orchestras around the world are now stuck in a challenging predicament, said Elliot Moore, the symphony’s music director and conductor.

But the show must go on. The 2020 contenders — Denise Kloster, Craig Mansanares and Tim O’Neill — were nominated to compete, and the community can vote with their dollars. One dollar is one vote and there is no limit on the amount donated. Kay W. Lloyd, executive director of the symphony, said that funds collected will go directly to support the Longmont Symphony Orchestra, its concerts, outreach programs and operating expenses. The deadline to vote has been extended to July 31. Lloyd said candidates are selected based on their reach in the community — not on their musical ability.

Conductor Elliot Moore leads the musicians ...
Longmont Symphony Orchestra conductor and music director Elliot Moore leads musicians during a rehearsal for “The Nutcracker” in Longmont in 2018.

“Our annual Super Conductor Contest is a wonderful way to engage music lovers, symphony fans and our entire community,” Moore said. “While we always have a tremendous amount of fun with our fantastic Super Conductor candidates, it is ultimately a way for our community to support live symphonic music in Longmont.”

Kloster, a Longmont native and half of the Re/Max Team Kloster (with her husband Gary Kloster), learned to play the French horn at Skyline High School. Kloster grew up in the nearby “country” where she “was taught everything there is to know about the highly competitive world of horse showing,” her statement reads.

In his statement, Longmont police officer Mansanares said he is a lifelong appreciator of music and “has been bringing his somewhat organized waving of arms, weird body gyrations and lack of rhythm to uninterested audiences” since he saw bluegrass band The Darlings (played by band members of The Dillards) on “The Andy Griffith Show.”

O’Neill, special counsel with the Longmont law firm Lyons Gaddis, previously worked with the Colorado Supreme Court where he investigated and prosecuted attorney discipline cases. “A musician in his past, Tim still likes to pick up instruments of all kinds, whenever possible,” O’Neill’s statement reads.

“I am tremendously grateful to each of our candidates and for all who donate to their candidacies,” Moore said. “This support allows the LSO to continue our vital work to enrich, inspire and serve our extended community as an orchestra recognized for its artistic excellence.”

The candidate with the most dollar votes will be crowned Super Conductor and will lead a piece of music for the orchestra at its first show back in the concert hall, which is still unknown at this time, said Lloyd.

The public can vote at longmontsymphony.org/super-conductor through July 31.