Marshall's new Maestro discusses transition, honoring Virginia Shehee

Marshall's new Maestro discusses transition, honoring Virginia Shehee

Kermit Poling's musical resume is quite the composition.

"From the time I was very young, I've always loved orchestral music," said Poling.

He says he stumbled into music, with violin lessons, almost by accident.

"I started on the piano and violin at a very young age," explained Poling. "My parents didn't even know. I signed up for violin lessons and they didn't know until they got the bill in the mail."

Today, Poling is a diverse musician where titles of concert master, violinist, composer and conductor all apply.

"The more orchestral music I can do, and more places, the more interesting it is for me, but not just that, the more satisfying it is," he said.

He has added music director and conductor of the Marshall Symphony Orchestra to an already extensive resume.

"It's a vibrant community. It's not far from here so there's this connection within the ArkLaTex, so it was kind of a natural addition for me and so far I've really enjoyed myself," he said.

It begs the question, what keeps this Maestro going?

"Vitamins," he said laughing.

But really, it's Poling's passion. A joy for working with, and leading, between 60 and 80 people to create sweet sounds.

"30 years now I've dedicated myself to being in this region and I love it," said Poling. "All of these communities that I work in are different but the one thing they all share in common is a love for those things that make life really special."

Despite his international acclaim, Poling stresses what a gem music is in the ArkLaTex.

"There's always this sense of relief and satisfaction when you get back with the players that you're used to working with and realize they're on the level of any orchestra anywhere in the world," said Poling. "I've done great concerts in Shreveport. I've done great concerts in Marshall. I've done great concerts in El Dorado, Arkansas. All of these communities share in that artistic vision that attracted me here."

Poling composed a symphony, that on January 23, will be performed by the Shreveport Orchestra, honoring the late Virginia Shehee.

"She was one of the first people I met when I moved here, but also she means so much to the community," said Poling.

"The symphony that I wrote is basically reflections on this community and it is in honor of the memory of Virginia Shehee. I hope it's my small way of showing my appreciation for all that she did," he said.

Poling, also currently the general manager of Red River Public Radio, says as for what's next?

"I just want to do more of what I do. We'll just keep expanding on all of that and doing more. What could be better?" he said.

His passion and affinity for music, all types of music, is palpable. He encourages those who haven't already to touch base with the music in their part of the ArkLaTex.

"The artistic vision, in each of these communities, is something to be celebrated," said Poling. "If there are people that haven't experienced what's going on in all of these communities, it's worth taking a look at it because I find all of them are doing something really terrific."

Poling has an upcoming concert with the Marshall Symphony Orchestra on Sunday February 7.

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