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New Conductor Takes Baton At Ballet Wichita

Wesley DeSpain Facebook

For the first time in decades, a new conductor will lead the orchestra at Friday's premiere of Ballet Wichita's "The New Nutcracker."

For 20 years Wesley DeSpain performed as a clarinetist in the production under longtime conductor Jay Decker. It was Decker who recommended DeSpain to Ballet Wichita.

During a recent rehearsal, DeSpain said the most exciting part is how all the various art forms come together to create a mesmerizing effect for the audience.

"The staging, the lights, the costumes, the dancing, which is incredible, and the music," he said.  "It just all fits together seamlessly."

As conductor, DeSpain said he has to be concerned about all of the parts now, instead of just his own.

"But honestly, for the last 10 years I’ve been thinking about this work as a conductor even while I was playing it, so I’ve been trying to learn it  all along."

He says his new role is a dream come true. DeSpain also directs middle and high school orchestras in the Derby Public School District.


Carla Eckels is KMUW's director of cultural diversity and the host of Soulsations. Follow her on Twitter @Eckels.

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