Passing the baton: Celebrating Maestro Tony Maiello’s tenure with the AFPO

Maestro Tony Maiello

The American Festival Pops Orchestra’s (AFPO) May 14 performance will mark our beloved Maestro Anthony Maiello’s final performance with the orchestra, capping off 12 years of leadership. To celebrate this milestone, we asked the maestro about what he’s loved about this time, and what’s next for him.

What is a favorite memory of your time with the AFPO? 

I’ve loved all the concerts with the AFPO. My favorite ones are the holiday concerts. There is so much joy in presenting music that puts everyone in the holiday spirit! I experience great satisfaction watching everyone leave the concert feeling uplifted, smiling, and being kind to each other. That is the greatest gift of all for me.   

In the upcoming concert you’ll be literally passing the baton to AFPO’s new maestro, Peter Wilson, the orchestra’s longtime Concertmaster and Principal Violinist. Please tell us what you are looking forward to for audiences with Peter on the podium. 

It is my hope that Peter will continue not only to serve the AFPO musicians, but more importantly serve the audience members with his programming. Our AFPO audience members attend our concerts because the music touches their hearts, minds, and souls. It changes how they feel as human beings. This key factor of performing music that audience members enjoy is essential to the existence of the orchestra and the core of its mission.   

How do you plan to keep music in your life after stepping away from this role with American Festival Pops Orchestra? 

I cannot live without music. It is essential to my mental and physical well-being. Oxygen, food, water, shelter, and clothing are necessities in life. For me, music is a necessity in my life. It touches the very core of my existence. I will always play, sing, write, and listen to music as long as I am alive and have the physical and mental capacity to do any or all of these things. No one knows what life brings us in its final moments. What I do know is that music always brings me to a place of joy, goodness, happiness, appreciation, and thankfulness. Sharing it with others is a gift and a blessing. I'm grateful I will continue to be able to share that with others in my role as Professor of Music in Mason's wonderful Dewberry School of MusicWhat more could one ask for?

Don’t miss Maestro Maiello’s final performance with the American Festival Pops Orchestra on Saturday, May 14 at 8 p.m. in Broadway’s Best, featuring Lisa Vroman, at the Hylton Center. Purchase tickets today!