Symphony conductor happy with Galesburg

Bruce Polay celebrates his 25th year at the helm of the Knox-Galesburg Symphony.

Excerpt from the Register-Mail:

Conductor Bruce Polay could have gone on to what some people would have called “bigger and better” places.

But he found a home in Galesburg with the Knox-Galesburg Symphony and when the 2007-08 season comes to an end, he will have spent 25 years here.

“When I applied to Knox, I had six job offers. I always wanted to live in a small town and I really liked Knox,” Polay said. He grew up in California and his wife was from Tempe, Ariz., so they knew the big city lifestyle and wanted to try the idyllic small-town life instead.

Polay has helped craft what those in the art world term an incredible success. Launched in 1951, the symphony, which kicks of its 56th season Saturday, has grown in both size and admiration, receiving a certificate of recognition from the president of the United States in 1998.

“It is a highly respected community orchestra in the state,” said Marie Ann Vos, president of the Illinois Council of Orchestras. She credited Polay for his unique programming style, because he does not just stick with the 15 or 20 “tried and true” orchestra pieces.