Jim Cheeseman is devoted. After 56 years with the EMSO (and the former 3M Symphony Orchestra), Jim has been with the orchestra longer than any other member. He has seen it all, heard it all, and played it all.
Jim has played the French horn for 69 years, but his induction into EMSO wasn’t exactly natural. “In 1963, my thermodynamics teacher at the University of Wisconsin, Bill Johnson, joined 3M and told me I had no choice but to join the 3M Symphony Orchestra! Since a professor is a person of authority, in the back of my mind I thought that I didn’t really want to offend him. I was in the Applied Mathematics Computer group at the time and he did a lot of work with our group to gain access to the 3M computers. And it sounded like a good opportunity to continue playing my horn!”
It worked out. Over five decades later, Jim is still making music with the orchestra. His reasons for staying around are simple. “I have loved all the years of playing and socializing with the orchestra people. I really enjoyed playing all of the concerts. Each one has been its own unique pleasure to play!”
There have been many changes over all of those years, but Jim says the most difficult part during his time with the orchestra was the transition from the 3M Symphony Orchestra to EMSO. “I was very disappointed when 3M dropped funding for the musical groups they sponsored. Going from a company sponsored orchestra to an independent one was tough – but we survived!”
With EMSO beginning its second decade as an independent, non-profit, community-based orchestra, Jim isn’t planning on going anywhere. “It has been a wonderful experience. I hope EMSO continues forever!”