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Wyoming Symphony Orchestra’s Rachel Bailey stepping down as executive director

WSO board member Ryan McConnaughey, current executive director Rachel Bailey, and Music Director Christopher Dragon are seen in a selfie. (Wyoming Symphony Orchestra via Facebook)

CASPER, Wyo. — After what the board’s president called “10 amazing, successful, and dedicated years of leadership,” the Wyoming Symphony Orchestra’s executive director Rachel Bailey is stepping down from the position. 

“It has always amazed me the importance the community has placed on the desire to maintain and support a symphony orchestra in Central Wyoming,” Bailey wrote in her announcement. “This is why it is with mixed feelings that I am leaving the organization for a new challenge May 13, 2022.”

Bailey will go on “to serve the community in a different capacity,” WSO Board President Ben Winckler said in the WSO’s social media announcement, and Bailey said she looks forward to continuing to support the symphony as a patron.

Winckler said Program & Event Manager Rebecca Hebert will step in as as interim executive director as the WSO board searches for a new leader, and that the 2022–2023 season will see Music Director Christopher Dragon return to the podium. 

Winckler added that the WSO “has grown and is thriving” under Bailey’s leadership.

Bailey said the symphony “has significantly evolved since its inception almost 100 years ago in a rough and tumble frontier oil town.”

“In the last decade alone the organization has invited regional musicians to perform and grow in their artistry, created statewide programs to elevate and support young musicians, expanded our reach to serve populations of all ages and backgrounds, and developed a strong financial base, all the while delivering quality entertainment.”

Bailey said this has only been possible with dedicated support from community members, local businesses, and partnering organizations.

“Thank you to everyone in this community that has allowed me to coax open your pocketbook, pitch you a sponsorship, talk you into performing, convince you to buy a ticket, you into hosting a reception, or pitch you my crazy new idea.”

“It has been a wild ride through financial struggles, eclipse festivals, music director searches, downtown development, auditorium renovations and last but not least, a global pandemic. Your support and enthusiasm for the WSO kept me going through all of the challenges and good times, and I will now have the pleasure of sitting with you in the audience and enjoying the music.”

“Please join me in continuing to ensure it thrives in Central Wyoming by buying a ticket, making a donation, and supporting efforts to create new venues for arts creation,” Bailey wrote.

NOTE: The original photo caption incorrectly identified board member yan McConnaughey. Oil City regrets the error.