CINCINNATI -- Gerry Doan has shaped and polished the Cincinnati Community Orchestra for 35 years.
But the orchestra’s beloved conductor will retire after a final show Saturday.
The orchestra’s free performances have made classic music accessible to Greater Cincinnati, and Doan has been its guiding force.
"It wasn't this good when I first took it over, and it's grown greatly,” Doan said.
Doan started his career in Cincinnati as professor of music education at the University of Cincinnati College Conservatory of Music, and he became the conductor of the Cincinnati Community Orchestra in 1982.
Doan’s reach extends beyond the Cincinnati Community Orchestra. He has impacted many local musicians, and he has taught several from the time they were children.
Concertmaster Rachel Bierkan was his student at the University of Cincinnati.
"He's just a really enthusiastic and effective teacher,” Bierkan said. “He's a great musician and a hard worker and he's kind of a visionary leader."
Many musicians value Doan for reasons beyond his teaching abilities.
“These are the great moments. These are the memories we have not what we're doing day in and day out in our jobs,” said Eric Bruestle.
Members of the orchestra are looking forward to their last performance under Doan, and Doan hopes the community knows how much he loves this orchestra.
"I hope this weekend proves to people that I care about this orchestra and that I care about the people,” Doan said. “They work really, really hard. Some of it's because they love it, but some of it's just for me. They do it for me, and I appreciate that."