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Friday night I listened to a superb concert played by the Illinois Symphony Orchestra, conducted by Music Director Karen Deal. I had tears in my eyes as the last notes were sounded and the audience stood to give this talented conductor a wonderful ovation as well as a sad farewell.

Throughout this past decade, she has not only much improved the quality of the concerts but also brought more variety to each. Her work with children has been so heart-warming to watch and I’m sure has or will greatly influence many of them to value good music throughout their lives.

She has also been a great asset to the community. Many in the audience — including yours truly — are very disappointed that Karen is leaving. I hope the Board of Directors will not rue the day they made the decision not to renew her contract.

Karen showed great inner-strength while conducting her final performance at the Bloomington Center for the Performing Arts and is leaving with here with dignity. She will be missed by many of us.

Doris Henderson, Bloomington

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