By WHIO Staff

DAYTON — A frightening realty hit close to home for the long-time face of the Dayton Philharmonic Orchestra.

Three months after being diagnosed with prostate cancer, Conductor Neal Gittleman returned to the podium on Monday night.

It was an emotional return for Gittleman as he has a new lease on life after being diagnosed in November with prostate cancer.

“Frankly, I am coming back with a fresh perspective because what I love to do was put on the shelf for a couple of months,” Gittleman said.

He has led the Dayton Philharmonic Orchestra for more than 20 years and is thrilled to be back after missing for performances in January.

“I have all the same feelings of what my wife and refer to as the first day of school. Excited to be doing it, a little bit, little butterflies. You know my technique slipped a little bit, but you know I’ve been gearing up for this,” Gittleman said.

Gearing up for what he does best and grateful for a pro-active medical team and an early diagnosis, Gittleman’s recovery included surgery and no chemotherapy, and he urges others to stay on top of their health.

“You choose which direction you want to go in terms of looking for a cure and then you do it and you have reasonably good odds of getting cured and there are lots of other people who are nowhere near that lucky with the health things they face,” Gittleman said.

Under Gittleman’s direction, the philharmonic orchestra will perform two shows this weekend.

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