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Sunday, March 3, 2024

Reilly Arts Center, Ocala Symphony Orchestra have a new Executive Director

The Ocala Symphony Orchestra and Reilly Arts Center have announced the appointment of their new Executive Director, a position that was vacated earlier this month by Pamela Calero Wardell.

In a media release on Monday morning, the Reilly Arts Center stated that Natalie McComb has accepted the role of Executive Director, effective on Monday, February 12.

Natalie McComb
Natalie McComb (Photo: Reilly Arts Center)

McComb will replace Mrs. Wardell, who served as the Executive Director of the Ocala Symphony Orchestra and Reilly Arts Center for nearly a decade.

Pamela Calero Wardell (Photo: Reilly Arts Center)Executive Director 2
Pamela Calero Wardell (Photo: Reilly Arts Center)

The transition comes as Mrs. Wardell takes on the role of Senior Director of Development with the Jacksonville Symphony beginning on Thursday, February 1. Due to this new position, she will be moving to Jacksonville with her husband, Matthew Wardell.

Longtime Executive Director leaving Reilly Arts Center Ocala Symphony Orchestra
Matthew and Pamela Wardell

“The Board of Directors expresses their full support for Pamela as she embarks on this new chapter in her professional journey,” stated the Reilly Arts Center in the release.

In a statement, Mr. Wardell expressed his confidence that McComb will excel as Executive Director. “Natalie’s natural authenticity, passion for community, love for the performing arts, and extensive capabilities as a leader make her a perfect choice as the next Executive Director of the Ocala Symphony Orchestra and Reilly Arts Center.”

“Pamela and I were so impressed by Natalie during the interview process and are excited to see the Reilly’s next phase of success. I’m really looking forward to partnering with her as the Ocala Symphony Orchestra continues to grow as both a regional attraction and a truly catalytic arts organization,” added Mr. Wardell.

McComb has expressed her excitement about the new role. “It is truly an honor to have the opportunity to lead such an incredibly talented team and organization. Their passion, grit, and creativity have cemented the Reilly and its entities as premiere destinations for music, performing arts, and cinema in our region. I am excited to continue this strong tradition of excellence and look forward to creating new and innovative opportunities for us to grow.”

Since the Reilly Arts Center’s inception in 2015, Mr. Wardell has served as the CEO. He will be stepping down from that role as he moves to the Jacksonville area with his wife. However, he will continue to serve as both the Music Director and Conductor of the Ocala Symphony Orchestra, and he will also be an Artistic Advisor to the Reilly Arts Center.

Matthew Wardell Photo by Brittany Bishop
Matthew Wardell will continue in his roles as the Music Director and Conductor of the Ocala Symphony Orchestra (Photo: Brittany Bishop)

On January 19, Mr. Wardell signed a contract extension through the end of the Ocala Symphony Orchestra’s 2026-2027 season.

In Monday’s media release, the Reilly Arts Center also announced that Adam Volpe is being promoted from his role as the Director of the Marion Theatre to the role of Senior Director of Operations and Programming.  He is a seasoned professional in arts management with a broad and unique skill set derived from his decades of experience in the hospitality industry.

Adam Volpe
Adam Volpe (Photo: Reilly Arts Center)

Volpe has worked closely with Mr. Wardell, and he has spent the last four years with the Reilly team developing systems and talent buying for the Marion Theatre. Over the years, Volpe has shown a deep commitment to the arts and entertainment scene in Ocala.