After Greatness, What Next?


You can’t blame Gerry Dolan for retiring. He must be exhausted.

After all, here’s a man who has served unstintingly as Director of Fine Arts for the Ipswich Public Schools; he’s also Director of Bands, which means conducting the high school Concert Band, the Pep Band, the Jazz Ensemble, and the Sixth Grade Band. Think about it. This means he has also had to listen to all these groups the entire time they were trying to learn the music.

Meanwhile, Gerry has been teaching high school courses in Jazz Improvisation, Computer Music Composition, and Music Theory. He’s also served as Music Director for the North Shore Youth Symphony Orchestra and conductor of their Wind Ensemble. He’s been teaching Instrumental Conducting at Gordon College’s Graduate Summer Degree Program. He’s conducted the United States Youth Wind Ensemble, the Metropolitan Wind Symphony, and the U. Mass. Lowell Youth Wind Ensemble. He’s been Music Director of the Ipswich Community Band and Jazz Ensemble. And he’s active as a guest conductor throughout New England and the U.K.

You try standing up and waving your arms around that much for three decades and see if you’re not ready to sit down for a bit. Or at least drop your hands to your sides.

So now the Town of Ipswich is celebrating this outstanding individual on the occasion of his retirement. But let’s not be simplistic. Retirement is not a realistic option for this remarkable, multiple-award-winning giant of a man. There are too many needs in our world for us to allow someone of Gerry Dolan’s genius to settle quietly into a front porch rocking chair on Newmarch Street and spend the rest of his days swatting greenheads and watching the tide come in and out.

Not that the Outsidah would ever be so bold as to dictate Mr. Dolan’s next moves. However, I do believe it would be reasonable to offer some options for consideration.

Accordingly, I am pleased to present the Top Ten Jobs Gerry Dolan Could Do Next:

#10: Permanent host, Crane Estate summer concert series. He’s charming, he’s erudite, and after so many years in front of student players, he’s long past being picky about the kind of music he listens to.

#9: Five Corners traffic cop. For a rhythmic approach to getting through the intersection.

#8: Whatever position opens up next in the Rolling Stones. To class up their looks and their music.

#7: Manager of Soothing Music for inmates still agitated even after being locked up in those pink-walled cells at the Ipswich police station.

#6: Executive Director, England Youth Tours. A natural next step for the man who got something like 200,000 Ipswich high schoolers to England and back this spring without a single reported death or nervous breakdown.

#5: Celebrity host, IMADA telethon. No, IMADA is not planning a telethon, but if you could get Gerry Dolan to host one, it would probably work.

#4: Strolling minstrel, downtown Ipswich. Maybe our last, best shot at increasing foot traffic for retail businesses.

#3: Host, 24-hour Ipswich YouTube channel. No, there is no 24-hour Ipswich YouTube channel, but if you could get Gerry Dolan to host one….

#2: President of the United States. America needs someone produce a beautiful result by telling everybody what to do, and still come out of it beloved.

And the #1 Job Gerry Dolan Could Do Next:



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