Walla Walla Symphony leader to retire

Michael Wenberg, chief executive officer of the Walla Walla Symphony, announced his resignation Thursday, reported the Walla Walla Union-Bulletin.

Wenberg -- author of three young adult books -- and his wife plan to move to the Puget Sound area to be closer to parents on both sides.

He told the paper he plans to focus on his writing, including freelance projects he's been juggling with his day job.

"We're looking at being fairly brutal in simplifying our lives," Wenberg said. "There's been a tyranny of things in our lives and I feel the hot breath of mortality. There's other things I want to spend my time and interest on."

The Wenbergs have lived in the Walla Walla Valley since 1998. He played trombone with the symphony before he became CEO in January 2007.

"I love the symphony. This is a great community, we raised at least most of our kids here," he said.

He said he hopes the board can find his replacement before the next season of fundraising begins.

Ed Foster, chief governance officer for the board, said, "I'm very sorry. He was a fine man to work with."