June 14, 2006 in Idaho

CdA Symphony baton will be given to highest bidder

Meghann M. Cuniff Staff writer
Holly Pickett photo

David Demand is the artistic director and conductor for the Coeur d’Alene Symphony.
(Full-size photo)

Attention classical music lovers and wannabe orchestra conductors: Your day in the sun may have arrived.

The Coeur d’Alene Symphony League is holding an auction to raise money for new equipment for the symphony.

The top item up for bid? A chance to lead the orchestra using conductor David Demand’s own baton, which then would be yours to keep.

“Auctioning off a baton means nothing,” said Tom Homan, president of the league, a nonprofit organization dedicated to fundraising for the symphony. “If they have a chance to direct the Coeur d’Alene Symphony in a piece of music, which we would instruct them in, that would make them feel very good.”

The top bidder will lead the symphony for one piece of music during a Christmas concert. Experience isn’t necessary; Demand will teach the basics of conducting before the big day.

“It’s not like I’m going to give them a Brahms symphony,” he said. “Everyone conducts music at some time, whether it’s a tape, a CD or whatever.”

This isn’t the first time the opportunity has been available to the highest bidder, symphony manager Sandy Daniel said. Similar fundraisers have been held under the previous conductor, she said, and were quite successful.

“We’ve had some people who had a lot of rhythm and some people who didn’t,” Daniel said with a laugh.

Homan said, “It’s just the idea that they can say, ‘I did this.’ … There’s a lot of people that would love to conduct an orchestra that never get an opportunity.”

More than 20 other items will be up for bidding, including paintings, a golf package for four and a boat cruise on Lake Pend Oreille.

The auction will take place 4 to 7 p.m. Saturday at the Coeur d’Alene Cellars. Food, wine and music will be featured. Tickets are $25 and can be purchased by calling (208) 772-5917.

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