Harshman Composes City Poem

The Independence Day concert at Heritage Port in Wheeling will feature a poetic premiere.

West Virginia Poet Laureate Marc Harshman will read a new poem, “Wheeling at 250,” that he wrote at the request of the Wheeling 250 Committee. The reading will take place during the Wheeling Symphony’s free Celebrate America concert that begins on the waterfront at 7:30 p.m. Thursday.


An air of excitement filled the Capitol Theatre’s ballroom this past Thursday when Wheeling Symphony Orchestra officials announced that John Devlin has been selected as the new music director and conductor.

Devlin, 33, becomes the ninth music director in the Wheeling Symphony’s 90-year history.

During Thursday’s press conference, WSO leaders played a video that Devlin recorded in Honolulu, Hawaii, where he is finishing his duties as music director of the Hawaii Youth Symphony and artistic director of the Pacific Music Institute.

In a phone conversation two weeks ago, Devlin told me that the Hawaii Youth Symphony had just finished its season and had conducted auditions. The Hawaii Youth Symphony is a statewide program that serves 650 students.

The Pacific Music Institute’s summer festival opened in Hawaii on Saturday and continues through July 14. The popular summer music camp attracts 250 teenagers. Devlin said the festival has about 20 faculty members from all across the globe who go to Hawaii to teach the students.

“I’ll be conducting an orchestra of those professionals playing side by side with the students,” Devlin said.

It will be the first time in the history of the festival that a joint orchestral performance will be offered, he added.


A revival of interest in the work of author Pearl S. Buck is growing, both in her home state of West Virginia and in her adopted homeland of China.

Jay Cole, senior adviser to the president of West Virginia University and editor of a new book of essays about Buck, spoke at the Ohio County Public Library’s Lunch With Books session in Wheeling Tuesday. Ostensibly, the purpose of his visit was to discuss the book, “Beyond The Good Earth: Transnational Perspectives on Pearl S. Buck.” issued by WVU Press, but he talked most about Buck’s life and her birthplace.

The house where Buck was born in Hillsboro, Pocahontas County, is a “living gateway” of thinking about what she wanted her birthplace to be, Cole said. He is a member of the Pearl S. Buck Birthplace Foundation board of directors.

“Ir’a a beautiful home,” he said. “It is still open, active and accessible to the public.”

As a board, Cole said, “We take very seriously our obligation to preserve Pearl’s legacy in this way.”

Throughout her life, Buck wanted to preserve a link to West Virginia, he said.


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