20 Years Of Conducting Coming To An End

20 Years Of Conducting Coming To An End

Saturday night, the Wichita Falls Symphony Orchestra will hit the stage for the final time this season.
It will also mark the final time that Dr. Candler Schaffer is holding the conductor's baton.
For the last 20 years, he's been keeping time to the music that has been keeping Wichita Falls classy.
"What I've always tried to do, is really throw myself into the music. In other words I try to live that piece right then," said Dr. Schaffer.
Dr. Schaffer started conducting the orchestra in 1996. A lot has changed since then when it comes to the symphony.
 "20 years ago, it was mostly locals that were playing when I first came. It's just been a building process. Right now everybody gets paid the same amount of money wither you live in Wichita Falls or Dallas. I think everybody knows that I respect their time. If we don't get out early, then we are not doing our jobs."

Dr. Schaffer has lived his "conductor life" by keeping it simple, and taking care of the people he works with through respect. 
"If you care about people, no matter what you do, you need to treat them right. It comes from years ago when conductors were just 'hard guys' and as a matter of fact, they used to call it the 'dictatorial tradition'. I am the conductor you do what I say," says Dr. Schaffer. "I threw that out the window as soon as I heard about it, as soon as I saw it."

His musicians appreciate his respectful, yet focused approach over the last 20-years bringing Wichita Falls beautiful music.
"He treats all of us musicians with respect always," said Violinist Jana McKlemurry. "Never a cross word. Never a complaint. He works with us and he works with the symphony. He's just, very kind. He is a very kind conductor."

 "We're really going to miss him I can tell you that," said Flutist Pam Youngblood. "He's done a wonderful job of building the orchestra. I'm very proud to call it my orchestral home."
"This is a superb orchestra, and I'm really proud of what they do. The community should be really proud of them, and I really hope that continues in the future," said Dr. Schaffer.
When the music ends on Saturday with that final note, Dr. Schaffer said he is going to miss a lot of what has become a major part of his life.
"I'm going to miss the people. I'm going to miss the music. It's a real honor for me to have done this. It's one of the highlights of my life and I am very appreciative to have been able to be in this position," said Dr. Schaffer.
Dr. Schaffer's plans after he sets down that baton, are to live in Florida and be with his family and his new grandchildren. The symphony performs at Memorial Auditorium Saturday night with their "Le Carnivale Symphonique".

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