Our Story is Our Community.
Located just 5 blocks from Ocala’s Historic Downtown Square in picturesque Tuscawilla Park, the Reilly Arts Center is Ocala’s home for the arts and live entertainment. Featuring state-of-the-art acoustics and production equipment, the 705-seat venue hosts an eclectic assortment of events, concerts, meetings, and parties and has become a hub for the arts in Ocala.
In addition to being the home of the Ocala Symphony Orchestra and producing local, regional and national acts, as the new flagship center for arts and culture in Ocala, the Reilly is committed to being an active and accessible venue in our community.
The Community Music Conservatory, located at the Reilly Arts Center, launched in Spring 2022. The conservatory features multiple teaching studios, professional staff and faculty, and performance spaces that include the 700-seat mainstage auditorium and NOMA Black Box. Conservatory programming includes group classes and private instruction designed for students of all ages, backgrounds, and skill levels. The Conservatory, which launched programming in Spring 2022, is managed by the team at the Ocala Symphony Orchestra and is committed to fostering an environment of creativity, life-long learning, and quality instruction.
The Reilly Arts Center has two theatres, the Reilly Mainstage and NOMA Black Box – it is also home to the Community Music Conservatory. The Reilly also operates the historic downtown movie theatre, The Marion Theatre located at 50 South Magnolia, Avenue, Ocala, FL 34471.
MATTHEW WARDELL (b. 1983) is a conductor and teacher known for his quick wit, endearing presence in both pops and classical settings, and his incredible ability to bring joy and presence to any audience. His professional career as Music Director and Conductor of the Ocala Symphony Orchestra began in 2009. When Matthew was appointed Music Director of the Ocala Symphony Orchestra the Ocala Star Banner declared that, “Wardell brings an impressive resume of musical and conducting training … Maybe more important than his musical credentials is Wardell’s youthful enthusiasm and unabashed zest … Wardell is not only a daring and dynamic choice as the Ocala Symphony Orchestra’s new conductor, but a smart one.” On the stage, he has publicly performed nearly 400 works in over 250 live performances including core orchestral works from all periods, concerti for voice and nearly every instrument, extensive pops offerings, film and multi-media works, and the purposeful inclusion of underrepresented composers and pieces. From the pit, Maestro Wardell has led 16 staged productions of large-scale opera, musical theatre, and ballet works including La Boheme, Bartok’s Miraculous Mandarin, Cosi fan tutte, Sunday in the Park with George, Carmina Burana, A Little Night Music, and Sweeney Todd. Matthew once conducted 2 performances of Puccini’s Tosca with only one day’s notice. The performances were hailed as “first-rate” and “inspiring.” His ability to step in at the last moment was described as a “magnificent feat … when the stakes were high, Mr. Wardell came through brilliantly and proved his mettle.”
In addition to his success on the podium and in the orchestra pit, Matthew has been responsible for more than $7 million in private fundraising, over $3 million in grant acquisitions from the local to national level, and the creation and successive expansion of the Reilly Arts Center, a 30,000 square foot Ocala, FL performing arts facility that houses a 700-seat mainstage theatre, the NOMA black box, and the Ocala Symphony Community Music Conservatory.
Born in Jacksonville, Florida, Wardell received his Bachelor of Music cum laude (2007) at the University of North Florida working under Charlotte Mabrey. Wardell continued his education by earning Masters of Music (2010) and Doctor of Musical Arts (2022) degrees at the University of Florida under his mentor, Dr. Raymond Chobaz. Matthew spent five summers at the Pierre Monteux School for Conductors and Orchestra Musicians in Hancock, Maine studying with renowned conducting teacher Michael Jinbo. Wardell has been fortunate to have been recognized as both an Osher and Quimby Family Foundation scholar. He is very proud to be part of the school’s long heritage of forming clear and dutiful conductors and considers Hancock a second home. In addition, Matthew has attended and participated in master classes with Keith Lockhart of the Boston Pops and BBC Orchestra, Thomas Cockrell of the University of Arizona, and studied with conductor and composer Peter WesenAuer in Salzburg, Austria.
Matthew is a champion of all kinds of orchestral music. He enjoys programming and conducting core repertoire arm and arm with pops and new music believing that good music is just that – good music. He is a member of the College Orchestra Directors Association and the American Symphony Orchestra League. He serves or has served on the boards of the Arts in Health Ocala / Marion, the Ocala Municipal Arts Commission (OMAC), and Young Professionals of Ocala (YPO). In addition to his musical pursuits, Wardell is passionate about being involved in the communities he makes music in. In 2015 was elected to Ocala’s City Council – a position he proudly held for 6 years. Wardell currently serves as the Interim Director of Orchestral Activities at Mount Holyoke College. He enjoys traveling, the good company of friends, and attending Jacksonville Jaguars’ games. Matthew and his wife, Pamela Calero, have one dog, Buckley, who is probably up to no good at this very moment.
Natalie McComb, CFRE
Natalie McComb is a nonprofit development and communications professional with over 15 years of experience in a variety of leadership roles. She is an experienced communicator with a proven ability to build relationships, work collaboratively, and achieve meaningful results.
As a fundraising professional, she has held development roles at the University of Pennsylvania, Temple University, Virtua Health Foundation, the United Way of Marion County, and most recently as the Vice President of the Ocala Metro Chamber and Economic Partnership Foundation. She has extensive experience in a variety of areas including major gift fundraising, annual fund development, corporate and planned giving, campaign administration, grant writing, and special events management.
Natalie’s marketing and communications expertise includes crafting compelling content for print, web, video and social media. She hosted a bi-monthly podcast for the Ocala Metro CEP, featuring interviews with local business and community leaders. During her tenure as Marketing Manager for AdventHealth Ocala, she directed all internal communications, external advertising, and the organization’s community engagement strategy. This included all corporate sponsorships and event communications.
She is a graduate of the University of Florida College of Journalism and Communications. Professional credentials include Certified Fundraising Executive (CFRE) and Six Sigma Yellow Belt. Natalie has been actively involved in many community boards and is currently a Take Stock in Children Volunteer Mentor.
Natalie has a passion for the performing arts, both on stage and behind the scenes. Growing up in Apopka, Florida, she was a regular actress, singer and organizer of many school productions. Her love for live music has made concert-going among her favorite activities to enjoy, along with traveling with her husband and their two children.
Senior Director of Operations and ProgrammingEmail
Facility Director & Executive Asst.Email
Director of Business AdministrationEmail
Director of Education and Community OutreachEmail
Margaret Dixon began her relationship with the Ocala Symphony Orchestra in 2010 as a hornist on stage, but she quickly took on additional roles with the ensemble. In 2016, Margaret assumed leadership of the orchestra’s Symphony for Schools Program, helping it grow to reach over thirty Marion County Schools. In 2019, her duties expanded to include the positions of Librarian and Personnel Manager of the Orchestra, and in 2021 she was appointed Director of Education and Community Outreach for the Reilly Arts Center.
Margaret has a great passion for teaching and spreading the joy of music, especially to youth and underserved communities, and having her own music school has been a dream of hers for the last decade. Music is such a natural and human form of expression, and it opens the door to such a wealth of opportunities. From traveling the world performing to singing holiday tunes with your family, the possibilities and reach of music are endless and should be available for everyone. Margaret’s philosophy is that anyone can learn music, regardless of age, experience, background, socio-economic status, or physical or mental ability. You dont have to be great to enjoy making music, you only have to be willing to try. Music creates deeper personal connections, encourages community, builds confidence, inspires creativity, and even has mental and physical health benefits.
Margaret is still an active performer and music educator. She holds the Principal Horn position in The Gainesville Orchestra, the Second Horn position in the Ocala Symphony Orchestra, and she is a well-known and regularly requested performer throughout North-Central Florida. She has also performed with Orchestras in the surrounding states, recorded with Carl Fischer and the Trade Winds Ensemble, and has played in numerous performances around the world.
Margaret has a successful private studio of students of varying abilities and age ranges, and she currently holds the position of Adjunct Professor of Horn for the College of Central Florida. She provides group coaching at several local middle and high schools, and she has worked extensively with local collegiate institutions, including Santa Fe College, College of Central Florida, and the University of Florida. Margaret’s younger students are typically the top performers in their county and in the state, many have received college scholarships and have gone on to pursue successful careers in music performance and education. Her adult students are all active players in their respective communities, and they always have a great time!
Margaret’s business experience includes several years managing the former music school and retail store Great Southern Music. It was in this position that Margaret honed her leadership, organization, and communication skills, and learned first hand the pitfalls of the typical music school.
Margaret has had the privilege of studying with some of the finest horn players in the country, including renowned teachers and performers Lowell Greer, Michelle Stebleton, Michelle Baker, Joseph Anderer, and Robert Watt. Margaret holds a Bachelor’s in Music from the University of Alabama where she studied with Professor Charles “Skip” Snead, and a Master’s Degree in Music from the University of Florida where she studied with Dr. Paul Basler.
Business Development ManagerEmail
Manager, Marion TheatreEmail
Mary Kelley Hoppe
Patron Relations ManagerEmail
Production Assistant, Reilly Arts Center
Concessionist, Marion Theatre
Box Office Assistant, Reilly Arts Center
Box Office Assistant, Marion Theatre and Administrative Coordinator, CMC
Concessionist, Marion Theatre
Concessionist, Marion Theatre
Box Office Assistant, Marion Theatre
Our Board of Directors
The Reilly Arts Center is governed by a board of directors, and serves on behalf of the membership to ensure that the organization operates within the bylaws and other policies of the corporation. Each director supports the Reilly Arts Center through their time, talents and treasure on an annual basis.
Emeritus members include Robert Reilly, Morris Dittman and Paulette Millhorn.
Mike Mangan is a native of Ocala and has resided in his hometown for much of his adult life. He is a graduate of Forest High School and completed his education as a graduate of the College of Central Florida and the University of South Florida. For more than 25 years he was the co-owner and President of George Mangan Insurance. After leaving the insurance industry, Mike’s career path led him to his current position with Duke Energy. As a member of the Duke Energy Large Accounts team he is responsible for the relationships with governmental and industrial customers over a six-county territory throughout Central Florida.
Mike has always valued the importance of community service and his past involvement has included serving terms on the board of directors of the College of Central Florida Foundation, the former Ocala/Marion County Economic Development Council and Chamber of Commerce, the Salvation Army, as well as being past president of the Metropolitan Ocala Rotary Club.
Mike and his wife Amy are approaching their 30th wedding anniversary and have a son Griffin and daughter Gillian. They also have two very spoiled Lhasa Poo dogs – Lucy and Lizzy – who keep the nest from feeling too empty. In his spare time, Mike enjoys travel, hiking and walking, and reading a good detective novel or historical fiction. And most evenings include listening to the music of John Coltrane, Miles Davis and Pat Matheny.
Bill Nassal is the Chairman and Founder of The Companies of Nassal based in Orlando/Los Angeles. He is a graduate architect of Kent State University and a graduate engineer of New York State University. He has been a board member with the OSO for 13 years, and is the immediate past president. He has also served as past president for the Orlando Philharmonic and past board member of the Orlando Ballet.
Rebecca currently serves as the Executive Director of Circle Square Foundation and The Colen Family Charitable Trust. These private operating foundations primarily focus on educational, health, and recreational initiatives. She is the former Director of Philanthropy at Hospice of Marion County from 2015-2019 leading all fundraising efforts for end of life care.
Rebecca is presently a member of the Ocala Women’s Network and has served as a Board Member for Kimberly’s Center for Child Protection where she led the Fundraising Committee for her 3-year term. She is a member of the Non-Profit Business Council and was a Forum Member of the National Healthcare Philanthropy Initiative.
Rebecca has been a Program Presenter at the Florida Hospice and Palliative Care Association and earned her CFRE (Certified Fundraising Executive) certification in October of 2018. Additionally, Rebecca sits on the Ocala Aquatics Board of Directors.
Rebecca is a ‘curious’ musician who loves many genres of music and still plays her baby grand piano every day. She is married to Steve and together they have 3 adult (!) children and 1 Australian Shepherd.
Naaz Samji Saju
Naaz Samji Saju
Born in Kenya, Naaz spent her childhood and formative years in East Africa. She moved to Boston where she completed her Doctor of Pharmacy degree at the Massachusetts College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences.
Naaz moved to Ocala, Florida in 2004 after her marriage. She continued her career as a clinical pharmacist, which she still practices at AdventHealth Ocala. She also immersed herself into the hospitality world of the family hotel business. That business has now grown to become HDG Hotels, where Naaz is currently an investment partner.
Having an unwavering commitment to serving others, Naaz has led youth and community development for the Ismaili Center in Boston and Ocala for the past 25 years. She currently serves as a board member of the Aga Khan Foundation in Florida.
The Associate Board
In 2017, the Reilly Arts Center established the Associate Board. The Associate Board is comprised of community members, 21-45, with a strong passion for growing the reach of the Reilly Arts Center and Ocala Symphony Orchestra. The three main focuses of the board are:
1) Build and engage audiences that are 21-45 years old
2) Support Youth Outreach initiatives
3) Support and grow opportunities for family activities at the Reilly Arts Center
Caly Bryan is a local singer-songwriter specializing in stripped-down acoustic performances. During the week, she works full time as Chief Operating Officer at Angie Lewis State Farm. Caly also serves on the board for YPO (Young Professionals Ocala) and is passionate about enriching our community through music and art.
Hilary A.C. Hoover
Hilary A.C. Hoover is a Speech Language Pathologist who works at Marion County Public Schools and has a growing private practice. She supports local art and community organizations as a member of the Appleton Museum of Art, volunteer for Couch Sessions, and supports the Kimberly Center.
Classic- Fleetwood Mac – “Rumors”
Guilty Pleasure- Kesha – “Rainbow”
Lauren is currently the Community Engagement Director for Marion County Public Schools. She serves on the Ocala Chapter of the Florida Public Relations Board as the Accreditation Chair, is a board member for United Way of Marion County, a member of the board of the Girl Scouts of West Central Florida and serves on the Marion County Litter Task Force.
Kaycie Hartley is a chiropractor, anatomy professor, wife to James and mother to two sons. She is also an active member of Junior League Ocala. Her hobbies include yard-saling and keeping her plants alive. She enjoys family time, traveling and good coffee.
Krista is the Director of Sales for the Springhill Suites by Marriott Ocala- one of 21 hotels in the HDG portfolio. Krista also runs her own flower company, Eufloria Flower Cart. Krista currently holds a position with the United Way on the PR + Marketing Committee.
Originally from Iowa, David has lived in Ocala for 13 years. He is the Registrar at the Appleton Museum of Art. In addition to the Reilly Associate Board he also serves on the FAFO board and the Ocala Municipal Arts Commission. In his free time he enjoys painting, distance running, and drinking beer, though usually not at the same time.
Teddy Sykes is a local artist and IT professional who has lived in the Ocala area most of his life. He also serves on boards for FAGO and YPO and is very involved in community events. He is a huge supporter of Ocala’s art and music scene and most of his free time is spent downtown supporting local businesses.
Junior Music Makers
Hannah is a music educator at Madison Street Academy. She serves as Vice President of the Marion County Music Association, FMEA (Florida Music Education Association) member and a board member of FAFO. Hannah also directs several after-school music ensembles and produces performances with her student groups. Hannah has worked as a mentor at Madison Street and has also worked with local high school marching band programs.