The primary purpose of the Competition is to bring awareness of the TSO and its mission to a broad cross-section of Texarkana and to raise important financial support.
Four community leaders compete for the honor of conducting the orchestra for one selection at the TSO Christmas at the Perot concert on Sunday afternoon, December 10, 2023, at 4:00 p.m.
Anyone may vote to support their favorite candidate and support the TSO in the process. Each vote is $20, and you can vote for as many candidates as you wish, and as many times as your pocketbook allows!
Each competitor has been given the freedom to solicit votes in any manner they choose, so long as it is not illegal, immoral, or unethical!
Conducting Competitors will each receive their own baton, a conducting class from Maestro Philip Mann, and an opportunity to conduct the orchestra at the dress rehearsal. Beyond that, none of the competitors will know who has won until Santa brings them all on stage at the Christmas Concert.
Votes can be cast through PayPal on the Symphony Facebook page, at texarkanasymphony.org or by visiting the Celebrity Conductor table at TSO’s fall 2023 Concert.
2023 CELEBRITY CONDUCTOR COMPETITORS:
Lesa Asbille is originally a Cass County native, being born in Linden, TX and raised her entire childhood in Atlanta, TX. From a very early age she has had a love and appreciation for music…of all kinds. Some of her earliest memories are of her first record player (with a built-in microphone) and the vast collection of vinyl 45s and 33s that she inherited from her mom, as well as her various aunts and uncles, who all contributed to her love of music. Also, some of her fondest memories are of weekends spent with her parents, aunts, uncles, and cousins where, after the adults finished their card games, everyone would move the furniture and do some good old two-stepping. Lesa was a proud member of The Big Bad Band from Rabbitland from 6th-12th grades, in the percussion section, predominately playing the snare drum. She moved to Texarkana in her mid-20s, where she met her husband of over 25 years, Tony Asbille. Together, they have four grown children and eight grandchildren. Lesa and Tony are local business owners, varying from medical manufacturing to real estate of all kinds. Her love of orchestra music was re-ignited when they first attended a Trans-Siberian Orchestra show several years ago and then a Texarkana Symphony Orchestra show a few years later. She was later involved in the Women for the Arts/Party with Picassos and she and Tony hold season tickets to the TSO so that they can also expose their grandchildren to the wonderful art of music.
Since 1998, Gary Gathright has served as an engineer at Ledwell. He is a graduate of Louisiana Tech University in Mechanical Engineering and began his career at SMI Joist in his hometown of Hope in 1996. Gary also shares three United States Patents with fellow Ledwell employees and college classmates.
Gary started out at the University of Arkansas and capped off several years of school musical performance as a member of the Marching Razorbacks, Hogwild Band, and the UofA Wind Ensemble.
As a member of the ’22 class of Leadership Texarkana, Gary is active in his community. He volunteered with both the Texas High Band and Tiger Theatre Company, supporting his children. Gary is also a TRAHC board member and serves on the advisory committee for MilWay FCU. In addition, he is on the board for the Alzheimer’s Alliance and is heavily involved in the Wine Festival.
As a lifelong resident, Gary loves to promote Texarkana, the historic Perot Theater, the symphony, education, and the arts. From childhood piano to drum major and all-state trombone in high school to participating in community band as an adult, music has always been a passion for Gary. Being a patron of the TSO is the next step in that journey. He believes that music plays a vital role in all our lives. It entertains, inspires, and educates us while being the vehicle for memories and experiences bigger than we are.
Dr. Robin Hickerson is an experienced educator in the Texarkana area with over three decades of service. She has been a teacher, principal, and assistant superintendent, serving in both the Texarkana Texas Independent School District and Texarkana Arkansas School District #7. Additionally, Dr. Hickerson is an adjunct professor at Texas A&M – Texarkana, where she was named Distinguished Alumna in 2009. She recently accepted a position at the University of Arkansas, Hope-Texarkana as the Director of Institutional Advancement.
Beyond her professional role, Robin actively engages in community and civic activities. She serves on the Chamber of Commerce Business Retention and Expansion board, the Texarkana Regional Airport Authority, and the Leadership Texarkana board. As a past sustainer president of the Junior League of Texarkana, she remains committed to the power of training and education and positively impacting our community.
Robin and her husband, David, are proud First United Methodist Church – Texarkana, Arkansas members. They enjoy attending their grandchildren’s activities and cherish the moments spent with their loved ones celebrating their academic, artistic, and athletic accomplishments.
Dr. Brian So is a gastroenterologist with Texarkana Gastroenterology Consultants. He moved to Texarkana with his wife, Jennie, and two children, Ellie and Brenton (now 12 and 9, respectively) in 2014, right after completing his fellowship training at the University of Utah in Salt Lake City, Utah. A native Los Angelean, he left California in 1997 for college and has since lived in Maryland, Ohio, and Utah, for various parts of his education and medical training. He and his wife knew they wanted to raise their family in a smaller town and are both proud to call Texarkana their new home. Dr. So has called the nine years of living here his “Texarkanification.” He and his family attend Heritage Church. Over the past nine years, he has given talks and lectures, radio and television interviews, on the importance of colon cancer screening; an area of healthcare he is particularly passionate about.