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Muncie Symphony Orchestra records

Identifier: MSS-175

Scope and Contents

The collection consists primarily of programs and related material (1950-current) and program records (1948-1992). It also contains publications of the Civic Music Association, a Record Book of Muncie Civic and College Symphony association (1949-1962), board meeting and minutes (1961-1970), programs, repertoires (1949-50/1981-82), programs from national, out-of-state performances, schedules (1968-86), information on a Psi Iota Xi Pops Concert, newsletters (1978-current), a 25-year brief history of the organization, and the records of the 50th Season Committee. Additionally, the collection contains brochures (1978-1980), Muncie Symphony Association materials (1949-1953), Muncie Symphony League (1953-2004), newspaper clippings (1959-1979), reports (1958-1979), rosters, correspondence, documents (1950-1953), subscription records and letters (1953-1974), and Subscription Drive materials (1962-1976). The recordings are primarily reel-to-reel tapes and the videocassettes are digital videocassettes. The photograph collection consists primarily of proof sheets.


  • Creation: 1946 - 2011

Conditions Governing Access

This collection is open for research.

Conditions Governing Use

Legal title, copyright, and literary rights reside with Archives and Special Collections, Ball State University Libraries, Muncie, IN. All requests to publish or quote from manuscripts must be submitted to Archives and Special Collections.

Historical Note

Community interest in a local symphony can be traced to 1947 when Dr. Robert Hargreaves directed the 85 member College-Community Symphony Orchestra in a ambitious concert featuring Stefan Bardas, pianist, in the Liszt Concerto No.1 in E Major (“The Triangle”). Continued efforts to improve the College-Community Orchestra led to the announcement in 1948 of a plan to form a group to be known as the Friends of the Orchestra, under the chairmanship of Frank Bernard, prominent civic leader and local banker. Mr. Barnard offered to serve as organizing chairman for a Symphony Association. Seward Price, an early advocate of enhanced sound systems, dedicated his summer vacation period to securing new members with the assistance of Mrs. Harold Ensele as a volunteer secretary. By fall it seemed clear that a sufficient membership in the Symphony Association was guaranteed, and the organizing committee authorized Dr. Hargreaves to proceed with recruitment of orchestra personnel. Competitive auditions were held, and a core of the most competent performers was selected from the framework of the CollegeCommunity Orchestra.

On January 6, 1950, a formal organizational meeting of the new Association was held in the West Lounge of the Arts Building on the Ball State campus. Approximately 40 persons were present. Mr. Barnard presided and called on Mr. George Pierce, a local attorney, to act as secretary. A draft of a Constitution was presented to the body, and election of a board of directors was held. Alexander M. Bracken was elected president of the Association. He and other members of the newly formed Board adopted a set of By-Laws and discussed the possibility of presenting two concerts during the balance of the season. This number was increased to three with the successful completion of the first season. At first it was deemed necessary to employ at least twenty musicians from Indianapolis or elsewhere to supplement those selected locally. By 1957, that number had been reduced to seven or eight as local talent improved tremendously.

The Psi Iota Xi sorority took an active role in the work of the Symphony, instituting the Psi Ote Pop Symphony as one of the season’s offerings. The series was canceled after a 1963 Pops concert, scheduled to be held at the fairgrounds, had to be moved indoors due to inclement weather. The importance of women’s associations in the success of the Symphony Orchestra was pointed out to Conductor Hargreaves at a luncheon in Philadelphia, and he returned to Muncie and asked Mrs. Alexander Bracken and Mrs. Glenn Shinkle to assist in getting such an organization started locally. The first business meeting of the group was held February 14, 1955, with Mrs. George Pierce elected president. As the women’s association gained momentum, it contributed enormously to the financial success of the Symphony, undertaking ambitious fund-raising projects, such as the House and Garden Tour, the sale of Symphony calendars, and the prestigious Saks Fifth Avenue Style Show. A special annual contribution from the Women’s Symphony League, as it came to be called, assured the presence of major soloists on the Symphony’s concert schedule.

Upon the completion of Emens Auditorium, the first “serious music” concert was held, presenting the world-famous violinist Tossy Spivakovsky as soloist in the Beethoven Violin Concerto.

Dr. Robert Hargreaves, the Symphony’s first conductor, also directed the business side of the orchestra either from his home or from an office in the Music Building. In the early 1970s, Marilyn Pollard took over management of the office, which was moved to 203 N. Calvert. When Oliver Bumb, Vice-President for Public Affairs retired, he became the Symphony’s Business Manager and the offices were again moved to 310 N. McKinley. Upon the retirement of Dr. Hargreaves, Leonard Atherton became only Symphony’s second Conductor and Music Director. The Symphony celebrated its 50th season in 1998.


6.1 Cubic Feet (9 boxes, 10 Digital Video Cassettes, 2 VHS tapes)

Language of Materials



This collection is arranged in the following series:

Series 1: Administrative documents, 1949-2011

Series 2: Financial records, 1975-2003

Series 3: Newsletters and publications, 1978-2002

Series 4: Programs, 1947-2011

Series 5: Publicity materials, 1946-2011

Series 6: Muncie Symphony Orchestra photographs, 1962-1995 and undated

Series 7: Muncie Symphony Orchestra negatives,1986

Series 8: Muncie Symphony Orchestra recordings, 1952-2000

Series 9: Muncie Symphony Orchestra videos, 1995-1998

Series 10: Muncie Symphony League Scrapbooks, 1978-1984

Series 11: Muncie Symphony League website archive, 2018-

Custodial History

This collection was received by Archives and Special Collections as a donation from Nancy Baker and the Muncie Symphony Orchestra on 1991/02/07. Additions received 2006/07/02, 2007/04/16, 2007/04/20, and 2007/05/01.


Further additions are expected.

Related Archival Materials

Materials relating to this collection may be found in the following collections in Archives and Special Collections, Ball State University Libraries, Muncie IN:

MSS.202: Thomas A. Sargent papers

Processing Information

Collection processing completed 2005 Nov. by J. E. Gastineau. Revised 2006 June by R. N. Miller. Revised 2007 Aug. by M. Read. Revised 2007 Sept. by A. Lawrence. EAD finding aid created 2009/03/26 by M. Read. EAD finding aid revised 2013/09/30 by Rebecca Marangelli. Addition processed by Haley Smith on 2015/09/23. EAD finding aid revised 2015/09/23 by Lindsey M. Vesperry

Muncie Symphony Orchestra records
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description
Code for undetermined script

Repository Details

Part of the Stoeckel Archives of Local History Repository

Alexander M. Bracken Library
2000 W. University Avenue
Muncie Indiana 47306 USA