#SOchats with Naomi
Hello and welcome to our June #SOchats. I’m Naomi Chaitkin Nimmo, the Executive Director. We started this monthly chat room so we can answer your questions and talk about the orchestra and the response has been great! Please keep the comments and questions coming. Thanks.
Q: Do you ever play outdoor concerts?
A:Unlike common perception, it does rain throughout the year. And sometimes it’s very cold and sometimes it’s very hot and humid. Instruments have a hard time in inclement weather. Reeds warp; strings don’t hold their tune. Picture a tuba with water raining into the bell. In the past, we’ve played concerts outside and the weather was great. Unfortunately, unless we have a backup plan for an indoor venue lined up, it’s too chancy in the Lowcountry climate to play outdoor concerts.
Q: What is appropriate attire for the audience?
A: Clothes, please. All seriousness aside, people usually wear dressy casual. As all of you who have been to our concerts know, it can be cold or hot in the church. So layering is recommended. We do have a limited number of blankets available for your use. Just ask an usher to get one for you.
Q: Are there sponsorships available for next season?
A: Yes, there are. There are five concerts in the Subscription Series and currently we have sponsors for three of them. Sponsorships are $1,500 each. If you’re interested in being a sponsor, please call us at (843) 873-5339 to discuss benefits and arrange details.
Q: When will we receive our actual Season Tickets?
A: The tickets will be mailed to you before the first concert in September.
Joke of the Month
Interviews with the Musicians
Frank Miley, Oboe and English horn
Where are you from?
I was born in Kingstree, SC, and spent the first fifteen years of my life in Greeleyville, a tiny town nearby. It was home until 1968, when my family moved to Goose Creek for my father to take over as principal in one of the Berkeley County schools. Other than four years away at Furman University, I’ve been in Goose Creek ever since.
Tell us about your family.
Dad was an educator for the majority of his adult life. Mom was an organist of considerable repute around these parts. Dad’s ancestors are from Wales. My mother’s folks are from Scotland. The family joke is that our earliest ancestors on both sides were horse thieves. So mind the herd. Just sayin’!
I’m the oldest of three siblings. My sister, Julianna, is an artist and teaches art at Bonner Elementary School in Macedonia. My brother, Harry, is a nuclear research physicist living in the state of Washington. We’re told that he and I could pass for twins, though he’s seven years my junior. (But of course I look WAY younger than he does.) My sister has one daughter; my brother has two. These three twenty-somethings are the sort that you see when you visualize hard-working, successful, vibrant, strong and independent women. And all three still have Uncle Frankie wrapped around their little fingers.
Education and previous careers.
My undergraduate degree is in music education. I took a Masters in Elementary Administration at The Citadel. I began teaching in 1976 as Director of Bands at Sedgefield Middle School in Goose Creek, and assisting at Goose Creek High School. Of all the jobs I ever had, this is the one that taught me the most. After thirteen years, I left the band room in favor of a second grade classroom at Whitesville Elementary in Moncks Corner. Of all the work I did in education, this was my favorite. Sure it was hard, but so much fun! I spent a year in the Office of Teacher Evaluation after leaving the elementary classroom, and of all the jobs I ever had, this was the most difficult. Truly! The last twelve years of my career were spent as the Coordinator of Performing Arts for Berkeley County School District. Of all the jobs that I ever had, this one was by far the most rewarding. All these 33 years came to a VERY happy conclusion on June 8, 2008, when I “went into the light” of sweet retirement. And of all the jobs I ever had, this is the one I’m BEST at!
What position do you hold with the Summerville Orchestra and what other activities do you do with the orchestra?
I’m new-ish to the orchestra. Two concerts this past season were my first, and I am really loving playing again. I’d been away from it for rather a long time. I play oboe and English horn in the orchestra. I hadn’t played English horn since my Furman days, and really didn’t care too much for it back then. But Jan Coldwell loaned me her instrument for that first concert, and after playing it just once, I was sure that I was in deep trouble. Before I knew it, I’d purchased one for myself. And I’m really enjoying the instrument! I played my new English horn recently while taking part in the The Encore Series. Getting together frequently to rehearse and then perform at Coastal Coffee Roasters with my new double reed friends Sarah Teusher and Jan Coldwell was such a treat for me. It’s a wonderful program, and I hope to be able to participate in it again soon.
Why did you choose your instrument?
I don’t really remember thinking about it that much. “Mom, what’s making THAT sound?” And there you have it. I think the oboe chose me, actually.
What do you like best about SO?
I’m hard pressed to mention only one favorite thing. It’s just that it’s such a perfect fit for me. I really appreciate the positive and productive rehearsal environment that Wojciech has created with the musicians. I like the fact that even though there is serious music making going on, there is always room for humor and laughter. I like the feeling of family that runs through the orchestra. I like leaving rehearsals and performances feeling refreshed both intellectually and artistically. I like that there is the occasional happy hour afterwards. Those are right off the top of my head, so maybe you can pick one for me…..
If you could play any other instrument, which one would it be?
I have always wished that I could play bagpipes.
Besides music what are your favorite things to do?
My whole family is crazy about searching out treasures in second-hand and thrift shops. It’s even a family activity when we all get together. I also truly love volunteering in my niece’s third grade classroom at Marrington Elementary School in Goose Creek. As it happens, it’s that school where my father was principal all those decades ago. Interesting thing how the universe operates sometimes.