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February 28, 2013

Battle of the batons set for Sunday at SUNY Oneonta

Staff Report
The Daily Star

---- — Three musical neophytes will nevertheless be wielding batons Sunday afternoon during the Catskill Symphony Orchestra’s Guest Conductor Competition at SUNY Oneonta’s Alumni Field House.

Oneonta Fourth Ward Council Member Michael Lynch, Capt. Jim Maloney of the Oneonta Fire Department and George Wells, market manager of Townsquare Media, will be the erstwhile maestros at this year’s competition, which is part of the orchestra’s annual Cabaret.

Audience members can vote for their favorite contestant through donations to the orchestra, with the winning conductor leading the afternoon’s finale, John Philip Sousa’s “Stars and Stripes Forever.”

“It’s a great honor, and will be great fun with a few surprises,” said Lynch, who said he’s studying the bagpipes.

Maloney said he likes to warm up musically with a little kazoo playing.

“I have some conducting experience, but only when doing electrical work around the house,” he added.

Wells said he has been preparing for Sunday’s 4 p.m. symphonic showdown with a strict workout routine: running, weightlifting and a little goofing off. He said he’s already begun his campaign for the top spot with “an all-out war on the radio and online.”

The Cabaret is the orchestra’s biggest fundraiser and sold out in 2012. In addition to the dueling conductors, it will feature Irish musicians Cherish the Ladies and the orchestra’s performances of two of Johann Strauss Jr.’s most popular works: “On the Beautiful Blue Danube” and the “Emperor Waltzes.”

Tickets are $40 and may be purchased online, by phone or at the door. Free tickets are available for students and as many as two adult chaperones per student order. This offer also is valid for unaccompanied high school and college students.

For more information, to buy tickets or to vote for a conductor, visit or call 436-2670. The orchestra’s Facebook page is