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Paul Ross headshotAfter 10 years of dedicated service at near pro bono compensation rates(!) Paul Ross is retiring from his position as Operations Manager at GEMS. He has been invaluable to GEMS and the entire early music community, providing affordable and carefully planned front-of-house concert services, management of our cadre of volunteers, ticket fulfillment, press accommodation, concert recording, photography, audience metrics, harpsichord moving, signage, and anything else that was needed. Thousands of music-lovers over the years owe their efficient seating at concerts and the on-time starts of performances to the efforts of Paul and his large cadre of front-of-house volunteers. We’re delighted that he will remain on the GEMS Board of Directors, continuing to provide his unique blend of detailed, careful thinking and broad vision, and he will continue to assist with recordings and other publicity initiatives. If you wish to thank Paul yourself or send along your good wishes, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or write c/o GEMS, 340 Riverside Drive #1A, New York, NY 10025.


Paul's farewell remarks made at his retirement party:

People have begun to ask me, What does the future hold for you, now that you’re retired? I’ve been thinking about becoming a dog walker. Their emotional lives are so much less complicated than what I’ve been dealing with in serving the public (to say nothing of the musicians!). But actually, the past beckons. I’ve been living in the future for so long—working backwards from upcoming concert dates to all the intermediary steps I needed to manage to get to the end of the performance successfully—that dealing with the certainties of the past is really appealing.

Speaking of the past, it may surprise some of you to learn that my first involvement with classical music—decades ago—was as a conductor. My father would play Mozart on his hi-fi, and I, aged 5 or 6, would hide in the hallway and wave my arms vigorously. I had, I think, a very fine natural technique.

Eventually it came time for me to learn an instrument, and of course my parents started me off on piano. There were two major downsides to this choice: First, I was so young I didn’t understand fractions—you want me to play a ¼ note?? Second, I was the only boy in the class. So my parents let me choose another instrument. I opted for the trumpet. Why? It had only 3 things to push!

Trumpets with valves Roger Voisin LP vol 3 webAs the years passed, my parents sought to encourage my playing and so purchased a series of LPs featuring baroque trumpet music performed by the famed BSO trumpeter Roger Voisin. Each LP displayed a magnificent heraldic trumpet on the cover, set on different colored velvet for each album.

When I first joined GEMS and Gene was searching for an image to help brand our little start-up, I offered the album covers as one possibility. Gene’s gentle retort was, “I don’t think our more fastidious friends would appreciate the valves!”

This was just the first of many “gentle retorts,” explanations, advice, and encouragements that Gene freely offered over the years. It was bracing and it was kind, and it was the best, most collegial training I’ve ever had, and I am forever in your debt, Gene, for the guidance, forbearance, friendship, and models of good leadership you’ve shown me over the years.

I have occasionally said that when I started at GEMS, I knew nothing of the field, but now these 10 years later I know at least 10x more! Actually, however, I have learned many crucial life lessons: that one can have a second career if fortune and one’s spouse smile on you; yes, Faina, your smile of approval was a key factor in my undertaking this 10-year journey.

I also learned that while I thought I was doing mere logistics—preparing a portable box office and getting butts in seats, orienting volunteers, collecting concert metrics, and so on—I was actually building friendships and helping to cement the bonds of harmony that tie a community like ours together. And so, to all of you who are also members of this community—my colleagues Gene, Naomi, Francesca, Shirley, Wendy, and Nina, my fellow board members, our many volunteers, and the musicians with whom I’ve worked so closely, I say thank you for welcoming me into your midst and for giving so much of yourselves that the art we love may thrive. –Paul

GEMS is a non-profit corporation that supports and promotes the artists and organizations in New York devoted to early music— the music of the Middle Ages, Renaissance, Baroque, and early Classical periods.