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December 19, 2007

PMO director retires; search launched

Brian Breed
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The director of Purdue Musical Organizations (PMO) on Wednesday (Dec. 19) announced his retirement, effective Dec. 31.

Brian Breed has led the university's student performing groups since 1989. PMO ensembles entertain audiences throughout the United States and overseas in venues that have included Carnegie Hall, Westminster Abbey and the Great Wall of China. PMO's annual Purdue Christmas Show in Elliott Hall of Music draws more than 30,000 people each year.

"Brian has decided to retire in order to provide time to pursue other opportunities," said Thomas Robinson, vice president for student services. "We thank him for the great music he has created and for the experience he has given to our students. PMO members serve as fabulous ambassadors for the university, and we are very proud of them and the tradition they represent."

Breed said, "I've appreciated everything that I've been given the opportunity to do as director of PMO for the past two decades, and I think we've accomplished as an organization at a very high level over a long period of time. The future of PMO is very bright. With the continued support of the legions of fans that we've developed through the years, along with the administration, alumni, PMO Club members, talented staff and incredible students, PMO is well positioned for success that will bring honor and positive recognition to Purdue for a long time to come.

"I have had a tremendous experience at Purdue. Our Christmas Show this year was a great success, and I have decided to go out on a high note. I've spent 20 years here. That's a long time in the music business, and I would like to try some new things."

PMO is composed of a variety of student ensembles and activities, including the 60 men in the Varsity Glee Club and 40 women in the Purduettes. 

Robinson said he has asked Jay Gephart, Purdue's director of bands, to lead a committee that will search nationwide for a new PMO director. The other committee members will be named early in the spring semester.

"PMO will follow through with all performances on the schedule," Robinson said. "My office will assume administrative responsibility, and the PMO staff will continue to provide musical direction until Brian's successor is on board."

Breed, a native of Nebraska, is a graduate of Hastings College. He joined the PMO staff in 1987 and became director two years later. Prior to coming to Purdue, he had toured, directed and performed with entertainer Fred Waring and his organization.

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