Dr. Willard Kesling: Spirit of Gainesville nominee
Published: Wednesday, August 29, 2012 at 9:07 a.m.
Last Modified: Wednesday, August 29, 2012 at 9:07 a.m.
Whether across town or across the globe, Dr. Will Kesling has paved a road of beautiful music – and with his music he's made great contributions to the cultural life of our citizenry.
About Dr. Willard Kesling
Occupation: Director of Choral Activities for the University of Florida
Years in Gainesville: 12+
Currently in his 11th year as Director of Choral Activities for the University of Florida, Dr. Kesling elevates each performance to a world-class level with his clear professionalism and inspired conducting. His ability to weave together text and music, orchestra and chorus, have garnered international recognition and respect.
As Music Director for the Gainesville Civic Chorus & Philharmonic Orchestra, Dr. Kesling has established a Gainesville tradition with the free public performances of “Messiah Sing-Along,” where the audience has the opportunity to sing the choruses from this famous oratorio. His chorus has performed as part of the “Sounds of the Season” concert in the Phillips Center, also free to the public with turn away crowds. Through his efforts, Gainesville audiences have had the benefit of witnessing performances of great choral master works.
Dr. Kesling has conducted 41 different orchestras in 23 countries on five continents, hundreds of choral ensembles, including a number of professional choirs and the Mormon Tabernacle Choir.
Yet, with all this global accomplishment, Dr. Kesling's attention is never far from his hometown of Gainesville. He devotes hours upon hours of volunteer service to his community, as music chairman for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints; music director for Westminster Presbyterian Church; music merit badge counselor for the Boy Scouts of America; and leads a small choir that performs at nursing homes and other community service concerts.
Henry Wadsworth Longfellow said, “Music is the universal language of mankind.” Here in Gainesville, we are fortunate to have Dr. Kesling, a veteran artist who has mastered this language and used his tremendous talent to communicate beautiful music throughout our community.
In spite of all his accomplishments, Dr. Kesling has managed to remain a very humble man who certainly loves his community. In all that he does, both professionally and personally, he is a true representation of the “Spirit of Gainesville.” The long hours of planning, rehearsing and attention to detail in all of his performances has made Gainesville a culturally rich community. He has certainly established a legacy of musical excellence for many to follow.
For this reason, I wholeheartedly nominate Dr. Will Kesling for the “Spirit of Gainesville Award in the field of the Arts.
Submitted by Adam S. Towers, Esq.
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