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PSO announces Eckart Preu as its new music director. Read More

Meet the Musicians

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Richard Kelly, percussion

Where did you grow up? Albuquerque, New Mexico

Where do you currently live? Walpole, Massachusetts

What instrument(s) do you play? Percussion

Educational background: Boston University – BM performance; New England Conservatory – MM performance; Bridgewater State College – Master Education

Personal Information (family, pets, kids, etc.): Married 25 years, 2 girls, one cat, many bicycles

How did you get started in music? My middle school band director was like Mr. Holland from the movie, Mr Holland’s Opus. He was friends with my parents and was over the house all the time. I helped him with instrument repairs over the summer and learned to play violin, baritone, trumpet, clarinet, and of course percussion.

What’s your favorite PSO memory to date? By far it has to be summer pops from the early nineties. I started subbing with the PSO as an extra percussionist for the Independence Pops in the early nineties. I remember the old “circus tent” with holes in it that we used! It was great times.

Describe a typical day: I get up at 4:30am to work out. It is either swim, bike-commute to school, or work out at home. Then go to Attleboro by 6:30am until 3 or 3:30pm. Then I drive to Portland if it is a Monday, Tuesday, or Friday, or get on the bike to go home or I go for a run of 1 1/2 to 2 hours. Then I relax a bit.

What is the question you’re asked most often when you tell people you play with the PSO? How come you still teach school? Most people think the PSO is a full time job like the Boston Symphony. The second question is “why don’t you live there?”

If you couldn’t be a musician, what would be your dream job? Tough question. I think I would like to own a sport business. Such as owner of TREK bikes or owner of a clothing line. This would give me access to visit some of the major events around the world. I know someone who is a clothes “tester” for Patagonia clothing. He travels around the world. That would be cool!

Any non-musical hobbies? I have a running problem! I like to run a lot. I participate in 100 mile ultra runs such as the Leadville and Vermont 100 Ultra, and do Ironman triathlons. Also snow shoeing, gardening, biking, swimming, hiking. I teach middle school math during the day and am also involved with teaching college math courses at local schools.

What is your favorite music? What are you currently listening to? Tough question. I am an eclectic listener. I have everything from Brahms to Dave Matthews to the Pure Prarie League to Chick Corea on my Ipod. My music desires change everyday. I choose my listening based upon my workout for the day or what I am performing that week I listen to music while working out and while driving to and from Portland.

Who or what has been your greatest influence, musical or otherwise? This still goes back to my middle school band director. Although he was not the most talented musician, his work ethic and enthusiasm for his job is tough to match in anybody else I’ve met. Ironically enough after 20 years of teaching band he quit this job and became a middle school math teacher! How is that for coincidence?

Do you teach? If so, how can people get in touch with you? rkelly@attleboroschools.com

What/where are your favorite eats in Portland? Bintliff’s, Portland Pie, and Seng Thai

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