Conductor of local youth symphony to leave for post with Ga. orchestra Speck's final concert will be tomorrow at Maryland Hall


Scott Speck, the 34-year-old maestro who was poised to enter his second season at the helm of the Chesapeake Youth Symphony Orchestra, has resigned from the group effective Tuesday.

The reason? He has been named assistant conductor of the Savannah Symphony in Georgia . The full-time professional orchestra plays a 40-week season under the direction of Philip Greenberg, its conductor for the past 11 years.

As assistant conductor, Mr. Speck will conduct 60 programs a year, including chamber orchestra performances and children's concerts.

In his place, the CYSO has hired Mark McCoy, 33, a doctoral student in conducting at Baltimore's Peabody Conservatory. Mr. McCoy is a student of Frederick Prausnitz, the region's foremost podium pedagogue. He was a semifinalist at the 1994 Tokyo International Conducting Competition and has been active at the Aspen Music Festival in Colorado.

"We really wanted to make sure we would find someone to carry on the work we've been doing with the orchestra," said Mr. Speck, who helped search for his successor. "What we have in Mr. McCoy is a sincere musician with a wonderful personality who is just bursting with great ideas."

Mr. Speck's final Maryland Hall concert with the orchestra will take place at 11 a.m. tomorrow when CYSO presents "A Halloween Treat" for children of all ages.

Mussorgsky's spooky "Night on Bald Mountain" will be performed, along with excerpts from Tchaikovsky's "Nutcracker Suite" and Rimsky-Korsakov's immensely colorful "Scheherazade."

bTC Youths are encouraged to attend the concert in costume. Halloween treats will be provided.

"Admission is free to everyone who brings a pumpkin," said Betty McGinniss of Arnold, president of the CYSO board. Donations will be accepted at the door.

Although great opportunity awaits in Savannah, Mr. Speck regrets leaving the talented group.

"I feel a great duty and responsibility to this orchestra I considered commuting but in the end felt it wouldn't be fair to the CYSO. They deserve someone whose heart and soul are here."

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