From the Manchester College Archives

News Release


MSO brings college, town musicians together to celebrate 65th year, young artists, conductor Robert Jones

NORTH MANCHESTER, Ind. – The Manchester Symphony Orchestra will perform its season finale on Sunday, May 2 in a celebration of its 65th season, outstanding young artists and its conductor of 25 years, Robert G. Jones.

The 50-member community orchestra is comprised of area residents, and Manchester College students, faculty and staff. Jones, who is retiring as associate professor of music/woodwinds at the college, also is retiring as MSO conductor.

The Sunday performance begins at 3 p.m. in Cordier Auditorium on the Manchester College campus.  General admission is $5, with students and senior citizens admitted free.

“My work with the MSO has been one of the most rewarding aspects of my responsibilities at Manchester College,” said Jones. “Especially gratifying is the fact that former MC students have returned to become ongoing members of the orchestra.”

Organist Diane Scheerer, owner of the Treeway Inn, was a former student of Jones and is still a member of MSO. “Bob was an inspiration to my music education as he allowed me to feel respected, optimistic and empowered by his guidance,” she said. “As a conductor, Bob chose repertoire that you wouldn’t expect a small orchestra to do: well-known pieces that were fine quality choices in a library, and they were consistently performed with excellence.”

Featured in the season finale are Young Artist Competition winners: pianist Kara Fawley of Warsaw, pianist Alicia Pyle of Fort Wayne, and violinist Azusa Chapman of Goshen. Students in the Wawasee High School Orchestra, directed by Joyce Dubach, and the North Central Indiana String Association, directed by Linda Kummernuss, also will perform.

Wawasee High students will join the MSO for Coplan’s An Outdoor Overture. Alicia Pyle will perform the last movement of Tchaikovsky’s Concerto for Piano and Orchestra No. 1. Azusa Chapman will perform the first movement of Symphonie espagnole by Lalo.

The North Central Indiana String Association students will join MSO strings in Scarlet Sarafan and Air and Pizzicato Staccatto.  Kara Fawley will perform the first movement of Saint-SaNns' Concerto No. 2 for Piano and Orchestra.

In its 65th season, the North Manchester/Manchester College Civic Symphony is one of Indiana's longest running "town and gown" orchestras.  When the orchestra opened its first season with 35 musicians in 1939 in the Central High School auditorium, North Manchester was the state's smallest community to support a symphony.  Today, it still holds that distinction. The symphony merged with Manchester College’s orchestra in 1943 and made a permanent move to campus in 1958.

The Manchester Symphony Society provides four concerts during the September-May concert season, and two free summer concerts.  The Society provides scholarships for music students, funds master classes and workshops in area local schools and subsidizes educational performances. For season tickets and membership information, write the Manchester Symphony Society, P.O. Box 113, North Manchester, IN 46962.

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