Directing from the cello section
A 23-year resident of Castle Pines, Mary Barnes is married with three kids, ranging in age from 13 to 30 and has a 15-year-old cat named Jack. She is the executive director of the Lone Tree Symphony Orchestra (LTSO) and a cello player, but her path did not always include music and the arts.
Originally from Portland, Oregon, Barnes began her career as a dental and oral surgery assistant. Over the years, Barnes gravitated to business management in dentistry and later to construction accounting and risk management. Barnes started a medical records service company in 1996 that she still manages today. During this time, she left the cello behind.
“I started playing the cello in seventh grade and played into high school, but then I put it away and actually sold it for the down payment on my first house,” Barnes recollected. “I didn’t play for 23 years and really felt like I had lost a big piece of who I was.”
She added that she decided to buy a cello and start playing again after being inspired by her daughter’s orchestra teacher.
Barnes joined the LTSO in 2011 as a cello player and volunteered to help as the personnel director in 2012. This led to her role as vice president of the board of directors followed by president in 2018.
In 2020, when the executive director moved to Florida, Barnes started helping out with some of the duties while the board of directors searched for and found a replacement – who resigned this past July. The torch was then passed to Barnes.
As executive director, Barnes is responsible for grant writing, donor relations, concert promotion, volunteer recruiting and coordination, fundraising, overseeing publicity and program advertising.
Barnes has a very full plate. When asked what she likes to do in her spare time she quipped, “What is this ‘spare time’ of which you speak? Of course, I take some time to play and practice my cello.”
She added that her daughter is a competitive swimmer, and Barnes finds time to exercise in the gym while her daughter is training.
Even in her new role, Barnes remains an active musician. “I still play in the cello section which makes it a bit of a logistical challenge at concerts,” said Barnes.
“I greet and talk to patrons in the lobby, and as the lights go down before the concert starts, I go on stage to greet the audience and welcome them to the performance before taking my place in the cello section.”
The LTSO season began rehearsals in mid-August and the season goes through next May. The holiday performance, the “Nutcracker Festival,” is on the docket for December 3 and 4. For more information, visit www.lonetreesymphony.org.
By Kathy Fallert; photos courtesy of Mary Barnes