The Marshall Philharmonic Orchestra
P.O. Box 97
As the lights dim, a hush comes over the auditorium. The players complete their tuning and assume formal positions. the maestro emerges from behind the curtain, takes his stance on the podium and, with a flurry of his baton, the concert begins.
The setting is not Boston, New York, or even St. Louis or Kansas City, but a small midwestern community called Marshall, Missouri, population 13,000. The Marshall Philharmonic Orchestra is begining yet another concert.
In the early 1960s, Marshall native Catron Gordon and his wife, Elaine, moved back to Marshall from Evanston, Illinois. While visiting with friends, Catron announced his intention of establishing a symphonic orchestra in Marshall.
According to one of his friends, Catron's statement drew one of two reactions: silence or chuckles. No one thought that such a thing would ever happen in a town the size of Marshall.
Currently, the 50-piece orchestra, still under the direction of Kevin Lines, performs five concerts annually, each of which features a renowned guest soloist. In addition, the final concert of each season showcases the talents of advanced string students as they take to the stage to play along side adult mentors on one of the selections. The concert also features a wonderful slide presentation of music-related artwork created by local middle school students, accompanied by the orchestra.