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The 2014 - 15 Mesquite Symphony Orchestra program continues with these concerts: December 20, 7 p.m., Music of the Season- Dickens Christmas Sing-A-Long January 31, 7:30 p.m., Swing Time! – Big Band style jazz tunes from the 30's & 40's March 28, 7 p.m., Superheroes! – Not Just for kids – with music of our favorite heroes. May 2, 7:30 p.m., A joyful celebration of our community and music The Mesquite Symphony Orchestra began its season with a familiar face behind the conductor’s wand. Brad Everett Cawyer will take over as the leader of the orchestra, after spending part of last season as the interim conductor, following the passing of Roger Gilliam. The MSO performs at the Mesquite Arts Center, 1527 N. Galloway Avenue. “I was named the interim conductor in the early part of 2014 after several appearances as a guest conductor. They asked me to stay and finish the season, so I did,” Cawyer said. “It’s very exciting to take over as conductor of the orchestra. I get the chance to bring music to a lot of people.” Cawyer grew up in the area, having attended high school in Garland. The local connection is just one of the things that attracted the orchestra to him as its new conductor. “We’re so pleased to open our 28th season with a conductor who began his musical career in this area, attended Dallas-area schools, and whose family has been in business here for a number of years,” said Andrea Bain, president of the orchestra’s association. “We’re excited about the orchestra’s future.” Cawyer’s local connection to the orchestra also includes a couple of stints as a musician in the orchestra when he was in high school. He got the chance to perform under the direction of Gilliam, which is what led him to seek out Gilliam upon his return to the U.S. from studying abroad. “When I returned, I reconnected with Roger. I dropped by a couple of rehearsals, where I knew a few of the musicians. When the need arose for a conductor, my name was put forward, and I guess they got to me before anyone else,” Cawyer joked. Cawyer said he believes his time in Europe has made him a more rounded musician, having exposed him to many types of music and culture. “All this time since I graduated I have been away from the area. My music connections are to certain composers who are making music today, both abroad and in the U.S.,” Cawyer said. Cawyer said that since he has been part of the Mesquite Symphony Orchestra he has been amazed at the level of musicianship. “I don’t think I was truly aware of the dedication of some of the people or the level of musicianship that existed here. Some of the musicians have been here since the inception of the orchestra,” Cawyer said. “This has been a really great experience. Getting the chance to work back in the area where I grew up is a dream. It’s something very few conductors ever have the chance to do.”