The Lake Area Community Orchestra has found Andrew Drennan to act as their new director for upcoming shows and performances.
With a long musical history under his belt, Drennan said he is happy to be working in this new position and hopes to do so for many years to come.
A former musician and teacher in the Armed Forces School of Music, Drennan gave 24 years of service to the United States military. After playing for the grand opening of Cowan Civic Center in 1996, he said he often found himself returning to the state throughout the years.
Drennan and his then-wife settled down in the state, where they would spend much of their time working in music. He said after retiring from the military, he spent plenty of time with friends like himself as they studied and played music together.
This eventually would lead him to his current occupation as director for the Lake Area Community Orchestra.
"Some of my friends have been deep-seated in the Missouri area," Drennan said. "I got a phone call from my friend and he said 'Hey, the director is getting ready to hang it up.' She'd been doing this for decades and I used to play with her a bit as a horn player, so I asked him if she didn't want to stay on. My friend said he wasn't sure but that we've got to go talk to her. We came in, did exactly one rehearsal, and she told me, 'Okay, (the position) is yours.'"
The job has been a kind of therapy since leaving the military, Drennan said. While he said he enjoys entertaining people, balancing being a musician and being part of the military can be difficult due to relocation. By establishing himself with a group of musicians through the orchestra, Drennan said he will be working diligently to provide opportunities for young artists.
Drennan said the orchestra's two goals are musical enrichment that entertains their audience and the cultivation of young artists. While he said the orchestra is still in the embryonic stages of expanding their young artists program, he is looking for underwriting support from local businesses to develop their singular scholarship into becoming more encompassing.
"My goal is to have a larger program where every single community that we play can have at least one kid on a scholarship," Drennan said. "(They can use this) to apply to college if they're going to college or going to a band camp at Washington University, Lincoln University or the University of Missouri. It helps their musical product and then helps our musical product when they play with us. So it's rather ambitious."