The 2017 - 2018 Season marks Thomas Hinds’ 34th year on the MSO's podium as its music director and conductor. A graduate of the University of North Carolina, Maestro Hinds was a professional musician with the Alabama Symphony for ten years prior to taking up the baton.
His past podiums, as both a resident and guest conductor, include the Ft. Worth Civic Orchestra, Red Mountain Chamber Orchestra, Johnson City Symphony, Gadsden Symphony, the Southern Regional Opera Company, the Birmingham Metropolitan Orchestra, and the Brisbane (Australia) Conservatory Orchestra.
Maestro Hinds has also served as the music director for the Alabama Shakespeare Festival's productions of Man of La Mancha, Beauty and the Beast, and, most recently, West Side Story. In 2007, he received the Governor's Arts Award from the Alabama State Council on the Arts - the first conductor in its history to be so honored.
Maestro Hinds received his training at the Aspen Festival in Colorado, the Goldofsky Opera Institute in Massachusetts, the Pierre Monteux Domain School in Maine, Munich Philharmonic's Conductors' Course, and at the American Conductors’ Guild Institute.
Blake R. Thomas assumed the role of Executive Director of the Montgomery Symphony Association (MSA) July 10, 2017. Mr. Thomas holds a B.A. in Economics with a minor in Music/Bass Performance from the University of Alabama. First introduced to the Montgomery Symphony Orchestra (MSO) and its programs at Stringfellows and throughout his attendance of Montgomery’s art magnet schools, he has amassed 20+ years of direct involvement with the MSO, undertaking nearly every aspect of programs offered by the MSA.
Attending from kindergarten through sixth grade at Carver Elementary, through junior high at Baldwin, to graduation at Booker T. Washington Magnet High School, Blake R. Thomas is proud to be a product of the Montgomery’s creative arts magnet schools. Besides performing as a bassist with the MSO for over ten years, he has performed as a bassist with the Montgomery Youth Orchestra, as a member of the Huxford Orchestra at UA, as a visiting musician with the collegiate orchestra at Mississippi State University, and in theatre and musical productions in Montgomery at the Cloverdale Playhouse, the Sanctuary, and local churches.
Mr. Thomas is an enthusiastic supporter of the arts and demonstrates that through his experience as a musician, community volunteer, and his service on the Executive Board of Directors of the Arts Council of Montgomery. He has a combined six years of public service with the State of Alabama at the Alabama Public Service Commission and the Alabama Department of Economic and Community Affairs. He brings to the MSA’s Executive Director position a unique skillset with his economic, business, service, and orchestral background.
Ranked at the top of Blake’s priorities is his family. Also very important to him is inspiring young people to love music as much as he does.
Richard Gill, President
Andrea McCain, 1st Vice-president
Jo Parr, 2nd Vice-president
Joe Mussafer, Past President
Janet Waller, Secretary
George A. Kent, Treasurer
Leah Slawson, Historian
Leah Stephens, League President
Bryan Reeves, Orchestra Representative
Charles Stakely, Senior Advisor