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March 27, 2010

Nancy Wood back in Anderson, with ASO

ANDERSON — Nancy Wood stared into the glass vase, full of clear water, with the bare roots of a plant dangling down into it.

Among the roots swam Wood’s new friend and colleague, a fantail betta.

“His name’s Scarlatti,” Wood said recently in her Meridian Street office. Last summer, Wood was named executive director of the Anderson Symphony Orchestra.

“He swims down into the roots, and he’s just happy as a clam.”

A visitor asks Wood and her assistant, RuthAnn Ginder, how they knew that to be true.

“He talks to us,” Wood said, peering into the vase at the fluttering fish.

Wood, comfy in a white sweater framed with long blonde hair, said she hadn’t been looking for a job, but the ASO gig couldn’t have come along at a better time.

A native of Vermont, she had been in the central Indiana area for years, first working for gospel legends Bill and Gloria Gaither. She had most recently been writing educational materials for Marion General Hospital. That job had come to an end after five years.

“For me, it wasn’t the most creative place to be,” Wood said recently.

Wood was planning a full-time return to her freelance writing career when the bottom fell out of the economy.

While working part-time as a teacher, she was contacted by a friend about an ad for a new executive director with the ASO as well as the Noblesville Symphony Orchestra.

“My friend had seen the ad online,” she said. “I read it and thought, ‘It couldn’t be more perfect,’ because music has always been my first love.”

Wood remains impressed that a city of Anderson’s size, with the economic hardship it has endured, sustains a symphony orchestra.

“And that’s not just a name,” she added. “It’s a great group of musicians.”

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