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About the South Arkansas Symphony Orchestra

The Symphony is South Arkansas’ musical leader, widely recognized for the quality of its musical performances and programs, its significant contributions to the civic and cultural life of the community, the impact of its role in education, and its development of a broad and diverse audience.


It’s hard to believe that nearly seven decades ago a group of local visionaries gathered to form a symphony orchestra to enhance the cultural lives of residents in our area. The first concert was performed in 1957 by a 30 piece orchestra to an audience of approximately the same size. John Shenaut, violinist and conductor of the Shreveport Symphony, was that night’s guest artist.

During the 1960’s The Symphony faced the challenge of finding the right Concertmaster, with Eloy Fominaya, then Dr. Joe Barry Mullins, and Jimmie Reynolds. Then in 1967, Gerald Kiger came to El Dorado with assistance from the Arkansas Arts and Humanities Council. The Symphony has worked with several other conductors including Richard Oliver, Dr. Richard Worthington, and Alan Burdick. All have played an integral part in providing South Arkansas access to high quality artistic music through extensive touring, recording, community, and education concerts. All activity has benefited the South Arkansas region, both in terms of economic and cultural impact. 


Maestro Kermit Poling will be conducting for his 30th Year. SASO is the longest performing symphony orchestra in Arkansas and our 67th Season began on September 9, 2023 at the El Dorado Municipal Auditorium.

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