Here is an interview with Hugh Whaley from 2020:
What instruments do you play?
My primary instrument is horn. However, as a band director I have basic skills on most of the wind and percussion instruments. I am more proficient at brass instruments, than woodwinds, or percussion.
How long have you played your instrument?
I began playing in my public school band in 6th grade during the fall semester of 1975. I switched from cornet to horn in 8th grade. I attended band camp at East Carolina University in the late 70s and early 80s. When is was in the All-District Band during my 11th grade year we played an abridged version of the final of Mahler's Third Symphony. That musical experience got me hooked on the aesthetic experience, which lead to my pursuing a career in music. Since that time I have been blessed with many opportunities to perform great music with others.
How long have you been a Wilmington Symphony Orchestra musician?
My first performance was during the fall of 1986 while I was student teaching at Hoggard High School under David McChesney. Dr. Errante had programmed Saint Saens Symphony #3. Since that performance I played on an as needed basis until I auditioned several years ago to be on the first called list.
What do you do for a career?
I taught band for 30 years in North Carolina public schools. Upon retirement from Onslow County School I became the director of bands at Gramercy Christian School in Newport, North Carolina.
Where did you grow up?
I am a native of Onslow County, where I graduated from White Oak High School in 1982. My father was a public school principal, and my mother was a public school teacher. My band director from 6th -`12th grade was Earl Taylor.
What is your favorite song, artist, and/or musical memory?
I do not like to pick favorites. I have been blessed with the opportunity to play many of the great orchestral work on my musical bucket list over the past several decades with the Wilmington Symphony. One work on my bucket list that is still unfulfilled is to perform "Alpine Symphony" by Richard Strauss. I love this piece. There are a number of memorable performances in my memory, but I would probably say that the recording sessions with the "Keystone Winds" occupy a special place in my memory. Over the past several decades we recorded over 20 commercial CDs, and each 3 day session was a powerful musical experience. Our conductor, Jack Stamp, was a tremendous musician, and the members of the ensemble were all first class. I think about my friends from that ensemble often, even though I haven't seen most of them in 5 years.
Favorite meal or restaurant?
Among the franchised restaurants I would choose Carrabba's. I usually get their Chicken Marsala with a Caesar Salad. I am a relatively flexible eater. I can usually find something to eat at any restaurant.
Diet Mountain Dew. Generic is fine with me.
What is your favorite vacation?
I love the mountains. I would like to tour the Alps in Europe, hear great orchestral performances, visit castles, and ride on the scenic railways.
You're stuck on a desert island... What book, music/album/artist and/or movie do you want with you??
If It were music to listen to, it would be a set of John Williams Soundtrack recordings.
What's your pet situation?
I am honestly not a fan of pets.
What do you want people to know about the Wilmington Symphony Orchestra?
I believe it is safe to say the members of the symphony participate out of their love of playing great music with other capable musicians. However, It is even more fulfilling to be able to share this great music with others via a live audience. Please know that as patron, and member of our audiences you are critical and appreciated.
How are you keeping yourself occupied while being at home all day?
I am a railroad buff. My family calls me a "Train Nut" I have started a z scale model railroad layout that will fit in a large road equipment case. I will be able to carry it in my car to events and share it with others. I particularly hope to take it to train shows,
Any words of wisdom to help others through this?
Assuming you appreciate great music performed well, I recommend You Tube. You can hear the greatest music performed by the greatest musicians in the world. You can easily start watching/listening and spend the better part of a day without losing interest. The quantity of quality content on YouTube easily exceeds that which could be reviewed in an entire lifetime. Just be certain to broaden your exposure to include new, and unfamiliar music.
Christine Maynard, Concertmaster
Mary Jo White