Rolston stepping down from leadership role with symphony, entertainment series | Local News
When it comes to world-class entertainment, Greenville, Texas, can boast of a pair of unique assets. Besides the Greenville Entertainment Series with its four or five yearly shows, Greenville also hosts the Dallas Symphony Orchestra in three evening concerts and two matinee concerts for local school children each year. The acoustics in the Greenville Municipal Auditorium also offer a further enhancement.
For the past 16 years, Bill Rolston has served as the president of both the Greenville Entertainment Series and the Dallas Symphony Greenville. Because of health reasons, he is stepping down from the leadership role, but he will remain involved with the board as a consultant
In a recent interview, Rolston recalled how he became associated with the two programs.
“When we lived in Dallas, my wife Gail and I were patrons of the Dallas Symphony,” he said. “We attended eight to 10 concerts at the Morton Meyerson Center each year. After we moved to Greenville, I became a member of the board. Harris Morgan was the longtime board president and when he resigned, I became the president. I have enjoyed serving as president. It has been very satisfying, and I appreciate the efforts of all of the patrons and volunteers.
“One of the most important things that we have accomplished over the years has to be the concerts for students. Of course, we couldn’t have done that without the Dr. S.L. Young Foundation. Dr. Young was dedicated to getting classical music to the children.
“Because of the coronavirus, this year is unusual. We haven’t been able to have the Dallas Symphony here at all. When it is OK again, I’m hoping to get to do a children’s concert or two before we get the classical symphony performance concerts.”
This year marks the 46th year for the Dallas Symphony Greenville and the 75th year for the Greenville Entertainment Series.
Part of Rolston’s role as president consists of making business arrangements with the Dallas Symphony.
“We negotiate for the price and for the contract,” he said. “We sign a contract every year for five concerts — two children’s concerts, a pops concert and a couple of classical concerts.”
Nancy Kerr serves as the chair of the Dallas Symphony Greenville and as secretary of the board.
“Bill and I worked closely together for many years on the symphony drive,” she said. “He was responsible for building an excellent relationship with the DSO in Dallas. He worked tirelessly to keep the organization financially viable and maintained close relationships with Greenville community leaders to ensure their support.”
In addition to introducing each performance, Ralston serves as a hospitality chairman for everyone connected to the Dallas Symphony or the Entertainment Series.
“Gail and Bill have hosted many board meetings and gatherings for patrons of the symphony,” Kerr said.
Through the years, the Rolstons have also welcomed performers, conductors and various Greenville Entertainment Series artists to their charming home.
While the Dallas Symphony used to perform in other cities, Greenville continues to maintain its exclusive status.
“The fact that Greenville is the only community that has the Dallas Symphony Orchestra perform yearly outside of Dallas is in large part due to Bill’s efforts,” Kerr said. “On behalf of the board of directors of DSG/GES, I can say that he will be sorely missed.”
To book shows for the Greenville Entertainment Series, board members used to rely totally on a Nashville organization called Live on Stage.
“We now go with a couple of booking agencies that deal with community concerts,” Rolston said. “Live on Stage puts on an annual meeting or convention where they bring in about 25-30 different artists for a showcase. Board members would go to see and hear the 15-minute presentations. They would vote on which artists they liked. Then we would fit into our budget as many acts as we could. Because pricing kept going up, we found another agency that was less expensive. Now we book Live on Stage for some acts and we book independently as well.
“I hope that we are able to resume our entertainment shows soon. We have postponed several, but we have a really good one, the Tribute to Neil Diamond, coming up in February.”
John and Elaine Yznaga are assuming Rolston’s role as co-presidents of the Dallas Symphony Orchestra Greenville and the Greenville Entertainment Series.
“Bill Rolston has been the face of the Dallas Symphony Greenville and the Greenville Entertainment Series for most of the time that we have been attending,” the Yznagas said. “We want to thank him for his many years of service and his unwavering dedication to entertainment in Greenville. We appreciate and are in awe of all that he has accomplished.”