The Jacksonville Symphony Society has a new interim Executive Director. Former Executive Director Jeremy Hommowun resigned earlier this month and has been replaced with a familiar face. 2017 Illinois College music performance graduate Hope K. Quarles took over the position. Quarles said her work with the symphony began in her first year of undergraduate work in 2013: “Late that Fall semester, I was asked to sub in on bass clarinet for the symphony for the Christmas Concert in 2013. I was overjoyed, and since then, I kept playing as a substitute with the symphony. With the unfortunate death of the 2nd chair clarinet player, I was asked to come in as second chair. Then, my senior year, I actually started interning with the Board of Directors because my minor at Illinois College was actually performing arts administration.”
Quarles recently earned a masters degree in the field from Roosevelt University’s Chicago College of Performing Arts. Quarles says after her internship she wanted to continue working with the Symphony Society: “After interning with them, I just fell more in love with the symphony. After my internship, I became a full board member. Then, a year later, I was asked to become the Vice President. Then, at the time the current orchestra manager wanted to resign, they asked me to be the orchestra manager. I was in that position for a year, and now, they have asked me to come in as interim Executive Director.”
Quarles says she’s only been in the position for about two weeks and has been preparing the orchestra for the upcoming concert on Halloween. She says after the concert is over she is going to take the time to evaluate if there are any changes she would like to make: “As of right now, I’m taking the punches as they come. I haven’t really had much time to think about any changes exactly. I’ve been trying to get this concert rolling because of the concert this Saturday, which will be virtual. After that, I can kind of take a breather and really think about what I want to do as Executive Director.”
Quarles says she excited for the new challenges and hopes her former roles will allow her to bring a new perspective in the executive director position.