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Music Director

Winner of the 2019 Silver Medal from the International Global Music Awards, Kermit Poling is an inspiring and passionate voice in American music.  The classical music magazine Fanfare wrote, “the Romantic spirit lives, breathes and flourishes in Kermit Poling”, remarking on his “quite natural musicianship” and a “Schubertian gift for melody.” Indeed, Kermit’s talents encompass conducting and composition along with years of virtuoso violin performances.

Kermit has conducted around the world with his original compositions. In 2017 he conducted his debut recording with the London Symphony Orchestra for an album of his compositions for the Centaur label.  Fanfare described the release as “a fabulous disc, splendidly recorded and executed.”  He has been featured with the Orchestra Filarmonia Veneta, the Orchestra of the Province of Lecco in Italy, the Symphony Orchestra of the State of Mexico, the Guanajuato Symphony Orchestra, the Shenzhen Symphony of China,  and many other orchestras across the world and in the United States.

Poling’s compositions have excited audiences everywhere.   His Symphony #1 “Shreveport Symphony” was premiered by the SSO and Michael Butterman in 2016. His  string quartet, Within the Orb of Glories Wearing, received its international television debut in February 2017 on the EWTN cable network.  Ballet companies throughout the United States such as Ballet Des Moines, the University of Hartford, Ballet Oklahoma and The Pennsylvania Ballet in Philadelphia have commissioned and performed his works, including “Snow White“, (originally composed for Shreveport Metropolitan Ballet), Peter Pan, Prince Charming, and Beauty and the Beast.   The Pennsylvania Ballet debuted Fairy Rhymes last season and Ballet Des Moines premiered The Beautiful Mermaid.  His work, No Sound of Trumpet nor Roll of Drum, was premiered in was featured in Symphony magazine.  His score to the silent film Tarzan of the Apes and for the documentary Tarzan:  Lord of the Louisiana Jungle won accolades across the country. 

Poling received the Outstanding Artist in Music Fellowship in 2000 from the State of Louisiana and twice received a Music Fellowship from the Shreveport Regional Arts Council.  Maestro Poling studied at the Boston Conservatory of Music, the Cleveland Institute of Music and the Tanglewood Music Center, where he studied with Leonard Bernstein, Kurt Masur, Gustav Meier and Seiji Ozawa.  In 2012, he was awarded a career advancement award from the State of Louisiana. 

Kermit Poling has been a featured conductor on NPR’s Performance Today, the Arkansas Educational Television Network, the Red River Radio Network, WGBH Boston and has appeared as violinist on Louisiana Public Television and PBS in addition to numerous television and radio stations throughout the country.   He has served on the faculty of Centenary College, Texarkana Community College, the Boston Conservatory and the Puerto Rico Conservatory of Music.   He has also served as artist in residence and taught master classes at the University of Delaware,  Kilgore College, Stephen F. Austin State University and others.  Away from the concert stage, he is choirmaster and organist at St. George’s Episcopal Church in Bossier City, LA. and is the General Manager and well-known classical music voice of Red River Radio (KDAQ Public Radio).

Executive Director

Sara Coffman joined SASO as the Executive Director in 2019. Moving to El Dorado was like coming home since she was from a small town in Texas. With her love of all music genres – classical, opera, jazz, pop, and Country – she is right at home with SASO.


Board of Directors

Music Director

Kermit Poling

Executive Director

Sara Coffman

Executive Board

Drew Sheppard, President

Thomas Collins, Vice President

John Tipton, Secretary

John Eckart, Treasurer

Stage Manager

Justin Howard

Education Specialists

Jennifer Michaels

Greg Oden

Board Members

Kallie Epperson

Terry Gheta

Heather McVay

Hal Munford

Tiffany Olson

Ethan Young

Member at Large

Dianne Hammond

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