Music Director/Conductor Thomas Cook
Biographical Information of Key Personnel
Thomas Cook, Music Director-Mr. Cook holds degrees from Wayne State University in applied music (B.Mus) and musicology (M.Mus). His conducting teacher was Valter Poole at W.S.U. He has taken further study at the University of Michigan and has participated in workshops around the country. He has been the conductor of the Macomb Symphony Orchestra for over 35 years. He has served as guest conductor of the Metropolitan Youth Symphony Orchestra, the Grosse Pointe Theater and numerous high school orchestras. He is in demand as clinician and adjudicator for high school orchestras. Mr. Cook is Professor of Music at Macomb Community College where he teaches courses in theory, ear training and music history and coordinates the applied music program. He has been the trombonist/manager of the Detriot Brass Society (quintet) for over thirty years.
Donald Lewandowski, Principal Bass – Mr. Lewandowski recently retired from teaching strings in the Detroit Public Schools, where he was employed for over 30 years. Since obtaining degrees from Wayne State, Don has been one of the most sought after musicians in the Detroit area, playing both orchestral and popular music. He is seen regularly in show and pit orchestras playing jazz and commercial music. In addition to the MSO, Don is principal bassist for the Rochester and Birmingham-Bloomfield Orchestras.
Rachel King, Principal Flute – Having completed a master’s degree at Michigan State University, where she was principal flute of the University orchestra, Ms. King is one of the busiest free-lance flutists in the Detroit area. She maintains a large studio of private flute students.
Amy Kesler, Principal Oboe – One of the MSO's finest principals and the one we tune to in the orchestra, Ms. Kesler hails from the Grand Rapids area. She holds a Master’s degree in Oboe Performance from the University of Michigan. Amy was the choice of the Grand Rapids Symphony for principal oboe before moving with her husband and four children to Rochester, where she has developed a studio of oboe students.
Linda Borushko, Principal Clarinet – After teaching music for a number of years, Ms. Borushko turned to a career in computer technology for which she traveled throughout the United States, Europe and Asia. A graduate of Wayne State University, she has recently retired to a life of musical performances. She is heard as soloist and player with orchestras, bands and pit orchestra such as the Fox or Fisher Theaters.
Paul Roache, Principal Trumpet – Mr. Roache is a multi faceted trumpet virtuoso. In addition to acting as principal trumpet of the MSO and the Rochester Symphony, (both of which he soloed with in the last year) he plays in two brass quintets and the Dodsworth Saxhorn Band. He holds a degree from Oakland University.
Vincent Humphrey, Principal Tuba – Mr. Humphrey is a graduate of the University of Michigan where he studied with the legendary Abe Torchinsky. Vince is a member of the Working Men’s Tuba Quartet and the Michigan Chamber Brass. He also plays both tuba and bass for the Sun Messangers Blues Band. During the day he works as a photo engraver for a large commercial firm in Ann Arbor.
Nicholas Backos, Principal Percussion and Timpanist – Mr. Backos has been with the MSO for over 12 years. A resident of St. Clair Shores, he is a retired band director for the Avondale Schools. He holds performance, music education and library science degrees from Wayne State University where he studied with Sal Rabbio. In addition to regular appearances with the Grosse Pointe and Warren Symphonies, Nick is busy as the drummer with an active big band. Mr. Backos is also the percussion instructor at Macomb College.
Laurence Huntington, Principal Trombonist - Mr. Huntington has degrees from Eastern Michigan University and Wayne State University. He has taught instrumental music in Ecorse and St. Clair Shores schools. He has performed with various local symphonies, community bands, brass ensembles and show and pit orchestras. In addition to performing with many jazz and dance groups, Larry has directed the Macomb Community College Macomb Jazz Ensemble. Larry has maintained a private teaching studio for 45 years and directs community bands in Troy and St. Clair Shores.
Fred Hoops, Principal Bassoonist- Mr. Hoops has a degree from the University of Michigan in Bassoon Performance and has been a freelance bassonist in the Detroit area for many years. When Fred is not playing music, he is an attorney and Vice President in the wealth managemant division of Comerica Bank. Mr. Hoops and his wife live in Oakland Township with their young son.