Maestros encourage 55th Wing leadership to stay on same sheet of music

  • Published
  • By Charles J. Haymond
  • 55th Wing/Public Affairs

Team Offutt members and two Omaha Symphony maestros participated in a leadership talk March 17, 2022, at the Holland Performing Arts Center in Omaha.

The symphony maestros conducted a panel for some of the 55th Wing leadership and Judge Advocate personnel about the importance of leading diverse teams, being mentors to others, family balance, and the value of intentional inclusiveness inside and outside their organizations.

Ernest Richardson, Omaha Symphony conductor, said it's important to have everyone in the symphony on the same sheet of music.

“From a leadership standpoint, when you are in the process of making music, one of my tour coaches used to say, ‘you must listen louder than you play,'” said Richardson. "When it is a first-time piece for either one of us, we would sit back and just listen to what is going on in the orchestra. There is ongoing give and take with the conductor and the orchestra. We’re always on the same page but it is not always so in the industry or organizations. Not everybody agrees with what page they're on, but we are on the same page when the music is right.”

The conductors and all the musicians within the orchestra are very accomplished in their careers and have students that they teach. Usually when musicians come together to make a certain orchestra, these individuals do not know who their conductors are at that moment. The maestros communicated the importance of building rapport within their organizations and the strategies they use within their orchestra.

“Never be disrespectful to those in front of you by not being prepared, never be disrespectful with their time, and do not have a maestro ego,” said Ankush Kumar Bahl, Omaha Symphony conductor. “If you are not listening to your team that is trying to tell you something either passive aggressively with their body language or with their looks, you are not listening to the room.”

One message wing leadership heard echoed in the concert hall by the maestros was “pay it forward.” The maestros encouraged Offutt leaders to open doors for others that were opened for them as they came up through the ranks.

“We are in leadership positions because of opportunities we sought that others have given us, challenges we have overcome, and advocates for our success,” said Lt. Col. Shannon Antonson, 55th Maintenance Squadron commander. “Now it is our turn to provide opportunities to others and to share what we have learned.”

Antonson expressed her appreciation for the leadership talk and said emphasized the importance of the military in the U.S.

“What a humbling experience,” Antonson said. “Sitting on stage with two maestros who were looking at a dozen military members, and hearing how in awe they were to be in our presence was a phenomenal reminder that ordinary people are doing extraordinary things every day in support of our nation, and I am honored to be one of those people.”