While I make my living working with and planning software, I consider myself a musician rather than a "software guy". My background is all music, my education was in music, then as a teacher and performer (both singer and instrumentalist). I’ve been very lucky to have the opportunity to perform with some really great musicians.
My latest musical endeavor finds me the conductor of the Microsoft Orchestra – when the post opened up a few years ago, I volunteered. I never thought that I would be an orchestra conductor; I studied choral music and was a choir director and singer for 20 years and have conducted orchestras, but mostly in combination with choirs (like the Brahms Requiem, Dona Nobis Pacem, etc), but never thought I would regularly conduct an orchestra.
I really love it – it’s a chance for me to learn, to teach, and to make music that I never thought I would get the chance to do. It is so much fun to build rapport with the players and to bring music out that they didn’t think they had in them. It’s also been a great learning experience for me, and has made me a better musician by trying to keep ahead of these folks; making sure that I have something to say that inspires, cajoles or amuses these wonderful people into playing better.
The MS orchestra is made up of MS employees, family and friends and has been around since the early 90s. We’re getting better and better with each concert and it is so much fun. (if you’re interested, you can see more at http://www.msorchestra.org/)