Mayor Mark Krentz and Ashley M. Dickinson 

The tradition of the MAGIC BATON competition will continue during the La Porte County Symphony Orchestra’s Spring Pops Concert featuring the music of Rodgers & Hammerstein with Music Director Candidate, Alexander Platt, Saturday, May 4, at the La Porte Civic Auditorium.  This year’s featured nominees are La Porte Mayor Mark Krentz and Chief Executive Officer for La Porte Hospital, in La Porte Ashley M. Dickinson. You may vote for your favorite nominee now by pledging contributions with a credit card online at, or by sending a check to P.O. Box 563, La Porte, IN  46352-0563.

The nominee that has raised the most money for the Orchestra by the end of intermission at the Pops Concert will be deemed the winner of this year’s competition and will conduct the Orchestra in the second half of the concert for one selection.   All contributions will go toward the production of the LCSO’s Annual Children’s Concerts held each October.  One dollar is equal to one vote, and contributions of all sizes are encouraged.  Vote for your favorite a hundred times, if you so choose!

The MAGIC BATON tradition began in 1981 as a part of the 150th Anniversary of the City of La Porte.  Mayor A. J. Rumely was the highest bidder at a live auction that was held during intermission of the Spring Pops Concert.  Since then, there have been over 30 MAGIC BATON Maestros.  Which one of our nominees will become a part of this coveted tradition, and instantly transform into a Maestro?  Only your votes will tell!

Mayor Mark Krentz Bio:

Mayor Mark and his wife, Laura, are champions of the Arts. They have been actively involved at La Porte Little Theatre for many years. They recently donated a collection of paintings from the family art business to the Star Center in Michigan City and are both members of the Visual Arts Council of La Porte. It was an honor for them to sing with the La Porte County Symphony Orchestra (LCSO) at the Holiday Pops Concert. We, LCSO, salute them as a wonderful artistic gem in our community.

Ashley M. Dickinson Bio:

Ashley M. Dickinson is Chief Executive Officer for La Porte Hospital, in La Porte and also serves as CEO of Starke Hospital in Knox Indiana. She holds a master’s degrees in Health Administration and Business Administration from the University of Alabama at Birmingham, and a bachelor’s degree in Finance from Oklahoma State University. She is also a Fellow in the American College of Healthcare Executives.

During her two years at La Porte she has overseen the planning, groundbreaking and now construction of the new La Porte Hospital that will open next year, recruited over 30 new providers to La Porte and Starke Counties, and earned La Porte Hospital designations as a Chest Pain Center and a Primary Stroke Center.

Prior to joining La Porte and Starke Hospitals in 2017, Ashley served as Chief Operating Officer at Porter Regional Hospital in Valparaiso where she held operational responsibility for the two hospital campuses and its many affiliated facilities. Notable accomplishments in this role include growing the services available to Northwest Indiana through the recruitment of 20 physicians in just two years, and overseeing expansions at the Valparaiso Medical Center and Portage Hospital. During her early career Ashley was an executive at Northeast Regional Medical Center in Kirksville, Missouri. Throughout her career she has supported work to enhance quality, safety and service for patients.

She and her husband Patrick live in La Porte County.