According to the RSO, Under Chambers' tenure, donations and musicians' pay increased, free afterschool string lessons were introduced at local schools, at least three concerts sold out, and the RSO became the official orchestra of Opera Roanoke.
Chambers also cut concerts to reduce the $480,000 deficit he inherited when he took over the orchestra in 2003, leading to strained relations with the RSO musicians, the Roanoke Times says. Orchestra members also protested when he contracted his wife to provide marketing services, and when he attempted to lay off Rodney Overstreet, the RSO's ticket sales manager and longtime horn player, to cover a budget deficit.
In a statement, Chambers said, "I feel that I have accomplished many good things within the organization, but there have been differences between myself and the artistic membership of the orchestra. It would be in the best interest of the organization if I stepped aside. The organization has battled its way back to fiscal health in a very difficult fundraising environment and the timing is right for all concerned."
RSO music director David Wiley and board president Jay Irons declined to speak to the Times. .