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Modesto opera group hires executive director

Townsend Opera Players has hired Matthew Buckman to serve as its first executive director.

Buckman, 26, will run the group's business operations, leaving founding director Erik Buck Townsend to concentrate on artistic endeavors.

Buckman serves as development director of the Modesto Symphony Orchestra and previously managed the Modesto Symphony Youth Orchestra and was operations coordinator of the State Theatre. He grew up in Fresno and earned a bachelor of music degree from California State University, Stanislaus, in 2005.

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