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The traveling music conductor

  • Norman Gamboa, who also conducts a professional orchestra in Wyoming, conducts the American Philharmonic volunteer orchestra in Santa Rosa during a practice. Gamboa has served as Associate Conductor of the Las Vegas Music Festival, Assistant Conductor of the Waco Symphony and Music Director of the Waco Symphony Youth Orchestra. He is currently Music Director of the Powder River Symphony Orchestra in Wyoming. 2013 HO

Conductor Norman Gamboa, music director of Sonoma County's American Philharmonic orchestra, leads a peripatetic life.

As the director of two other orchestras — the Powder River Symphony Orchestra in Gillette, Wyo., and the Aurora Symphony Orchestra in Aurora, Col. — the 41-year-old maestro spends much of his life on the road.

"It's hilarious, because when someone calls me, the first question is, 'Where are you?' " he said. "Normally, I'm in Sonoma County for three weeks of rehearsals. But this Wednesday, I fly to Colorado. Then Thursday, I fly back here."

Gamboa often spends more time waiting in the airport than actually flying, but there are some perks.

"I have frequent-flyer miles coming out of my ears," he said.

When commuting between his semi-profesional orchestra in Wyoming and his community- based orchestra in Colorado, he hops into a loaner car provided by the local dealership for the 700-mile drive.

"It gets really complicated," he said.

"Right now, I'm living in Louisiana, but I'm moving to Denver on Thanksgiving."

Gamboa grew up in Costa Rica, where he started playing the euphonium (a small tuba) at age 10.

At age 21, he went to Albany, N.Y. to play in a music festival and ended up winning a scholarship to Baylor University in Waco, Texas.


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