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Important News

January 12, 2023

Message from Kathy Gustafson, BSO Board President:

I am writing today to announce the upcoming departure of BSO Executive Director Gail Ridenour, effective mid-August. Gail has accepted the role of elementary music teacher at Wade King Elementary, returning to her roots in musical arts education.

The BSO Board thanks Gail profoundly for her years of dedication to the BSO mission and her many contributions that have helped strengthen BSO’s foundation. In her time with the BSO, Gail managed the organization with grace, enthusiasm, and immense flexibility - of particular note in the recent years of unprecedented challenges to performing arts organizations. She also worked with other arts leaders in the Whatcom Arts Project to develop and strengthen a shared approach to arts in Bellingham and Whatcom County; those efforts resulting in a Mayor’s Arts award for that organization.

After stepping into the Executive Director role five and a half years ago, Gail led the BSO through many changes, establishing strong operational and financial systems and building a highly capable team that has positioned the BSO well during the pandemic and into the future. Her work in endowment funding has also helped ensure a robust future for our organization.

“Being a part of the BSO has been such an amazing experience. It has truly been a pleasure to work with our community, Yaniv, the Board, staff, and musicians. While I am excited to return to teaching elementary music and bringing the joy of music to the youth in our community, I will greatly miss being Executive Director for the BSO. When I consider my family’s lifestyle, future, and retirement, teaching allows for greater possibilities. I am very thankful to the BSO and the opportunities it has provided me. I’ll look forward to seeing everyone at the concerts and playing oboe with the Symphony.”  – Gail Ridenour

“I have been very fortunate to have Gail as a leadership partner in her time with the BSO. Her positive attitude, commitment to the field , and amazing administrative skills were a crucial part of the BSO’s growth over the last few years. She will be greatly missed in that role! The orchestra and I wish her the very best in her new endeavors.” -- Yaniv Attar, Music Director

The board will soon embark on a search process for the next BSO Executive Director and will keep the BSO community apprised of its progress. We do not anticipate any changes or disruptions to our normal programming and activities during this transition. We are exceedingly fortunate that our previous Executive Director, Thom Mayes, is back in the PNW and available to assist us in this transition as Interim Executive Director, ensuring a smooth route to our next era.

Please join us in wishing Gail the very best in her new role. Thank you for your continued support of the BSO, and please contact info@BellinghamSymphony.org with any questions.

Kathy Gustafson

BSO Board President