R ita Wagner is the new Executive Director of the Bismarck-Mandan Symphony Orchestra. She started this position this summer and is already embracing the opportunities she sees for becoming part of this community organization.

Rita’s experience with non-profit organizations is extensive. Most recently she spent 4 years working as the Director for the Belle Fourche Chamber. Served as a Board member for Black Hills Badlands tourism. Her interest in local organizations like the BMSO ties in to her background as a local business promoter and other community-based activities.

Community outreach isn’t just something Rita does, it’s part of who she is. Her work with members of her community has taken on many different faces. Along with her involvement with local business, she has been a part of Comfort Keepers, which provides care to seniors, she worked at the Steele Clinic, and she has even worked with prisoners on their rehabilitation efforts. In other words, the new BMSO Executive Director is no stranger to community outreach.

The newest member of the BMSO staff is a self-proclaimed “farmer’s daughter” who grew up on a dairy farm. Now this farmer’s daughter has her own kids—Rita is a mother of four: one girl, Alexus, and three boys, John, Justin, and James. She lives near Driscoll, North Dakota, on 200 acres with cows, horses, and goats, which might explain why she also spent part of her career as a rodeo administrator. She and her husband, Keith, a plumber at HA Thompson, are renovating the family’s farmhouse. Spending time with her family, being outdoors, volunteering, and working with the elderly and those with special needs are not simply things to do, they are her passions. Along with shoes. When you meet her for the first time, you may notice that Rita has a noteworthy collection of shoes that she plans to show off at symphony performances.

Rita thrives on having a lot to do, so the combination of a busy farm family and a lively job like working for the BMSO fits her just fine. She is excited for this new part of her professional life and feels honored and blessed to be part of this organization. One of her goals in this new position is to ensure the BMSO continues to provide an inviting atmosphere and be a place people want to visit, spend their time at, and give their time to.

See the new Board of Directors.