The spring concert this year is the finale of Dr. Luxner’s 20-year career as music director and conductor of the Millikin-Decatur Symphony Orchestra.
He has brought us so much over those 20 years! In his second season he initiated the popular Labor Day ‘Pops in the Park,’ a free outdoor concert that has brought great enjoyment to the Decatur area over its 19-year run. Add to that lullaby concerts with BabyTALK for the very youngest of symphony-goers, pre-concert talks at Kirkland, and MDSO concert recordings for broadcast on WILL-FM radio.
Perhaps most important, under Dr. Luxner’s leadership the orchestra moved to a professional model, with students rehearsing and performing demanding repertoire alongside faculty and other high-caliber professional musicians. This experience shows students what it’s like to play in a professional orchestra: “You don’t come to rehearsal to learn your music,” Luxner tells them. “You learn it beforehand and come prepared.”
Much of Dr. Luxner’s work is behind the scenes, which makes the MDSO function so well. Without fail, his concert season is planned and publicized well in advance; musicians are scheduled; scores are marked; his concert program pages and newsletter column go to the printer ahead of deadlines.
For students, professional musicians and guild members alike, he has been a steady presence: the consummate professional, always prepared, committed to excellence, and sincerely appreciative of the guild whose financial support enables the orchestra to hire professional musicians and guest artists.
Dr. Luxner leaves Millikin with a top-notch orchestral program, ready to hand off to the next conductor. For that, and for 20 years of wonderful music, we extend a heart-felt ‘thank you’!
— Shirley Swarthout, President- Symphony Orchestra Guild of Decatur