Bloomington-Normal Symphony Orchestra Collection


Processed by Kay Lynn Lukenheimer
Fall 2003




Table of Contents

Bloomington-Normal Symphony Orchestra in the Scottish Rite Temple in an undated photograph from the Archives.
 

 

 
Collection Information
Volume of Collection:
Six Boxes.
Collection Dates:
1950-1997.
Restrictions:
None.
Reproduction Rights:
Permission to reproduce or publish material in this collection must be obtained in writing from the McLean County Museum of History.
Alternative Formats:
None.
Other Finding Aids: None.
Location: Archives Annex
Notes:
See also scrapbook collection O-B-3, audio recordings of select concerts, Symphony Guild cookbooks, and An index to the programs of the Bloomington-Normal symphony orchestra, 1944-1974 by Glenn Patton (located in Milner Library).

Historical Sketch

The origins of the Bloomington-Normal Symphony Orchestra are in the Philharmonic Society. It was formed in the late 1920s, and directed by Dean Alfred Hiles Bergen of Illinois Wesleyan University. This group was made up of people from Illinois Wesleyan and the surrounding community and consisted of a chorus and an orchestra to accompany it. Most notable was the group's annual performance of Handel's Messiah. Also preceding the Symphony was the Bloomington Band, directed by Frederick Ashton. This group was made up of community members as well.

In 1944, efforts to form the B-N Symphony began. Leading these efforts were Louis Williams, organizer of the group's first fund drive; Frances Elfstrand, first B-N Symphony Society president; and James Bichett, overseer of organizational matters. Dr. Robert Hargraves of IWU became the group's first conductor. Members of the Symphony were made up of Illinois Wesleyan and Illinois State Normal University faculty, community members, and a few high school students. The premiere concert was on Thursday, December 7, 1944, in the Scottish Rite Auditorium in Bloomington.

Throughout the years, many exciting things happened to the B-N Symphony. Several notable guest artists performed with the Symphony, including Jack Benny, Felicia Montealegre, Benno and Sylvia Rainoff, Howard Hanson, and Peter Schickele. Along with the big-name performers, the Symphony often featured contest winners. The Young Artist's Auditions was created in 1960, with the winner featured as a soloist the Symphony. The winner of the first Van Cliburn International Piano Competition also played with the B-N Symphony, a tradition that continues to this day with the Illinois Symphony Orchestra. A women's symphony guild was formed in 1961; this group presented children's concerts, raised money, and increased interest in the Symphony. It is also interesting to note that the Symphony Guild published two cookbooks: "Symphony in Food" (1962) and "Coda" (1972).

In 1984, the Boards of the Bloomington-Normal Symphony and the Springfield Symphony formed a cooperative alliance after the B-N Symphony Music Director resigned suddenly. The two groups already shared musicians, so the alliance was natural. In the following years, the Illinois Chamber Orchestra and the Springfield Symphony Chorus were formed to provide audiences and musicians with more performances and a broader repertoire.

On July 1, 1993, after two years of planning, the Illinois Symphony Orchestra was formed. This group took the place of the Bloomington-Normal and Springfield Symphonies and still performs several concerts a year in Normal and Springfield.

Important Dates
December 7, 1944
The Bloomington-Normal Symphony Orchestra performs its first concert.
1949
Guest artists begin to perform with the Symphony.
1954
The Symphony celebrates its first ten years.
1962
The "Symphony in Food" cookbook is published by the Symphony Guild.
1964
The first Van Cliburn International Piano Competition winner performs with the Symphony.
October 8-14, 1971
The mayors of Bloomington and Normal name this week the Bloomington-Normal Symphony Week.
1972
The "Coda" cookbook is published by the Symphony Guild.
1974-75
Season
1975-76 Season
The Symphony celebrates the nation's bicentennial by featuring an American piece in each concert.
1978
The position of General Manager is created.
1983-84 Season
The Symphony celebrates its 40th season.
July 1, 1993
The Illinois Symphony Orchestra is formed; the group performs dual concerts in Normal and Springfield.

 

Conductors  
1944-45 Robert Hargreaves
1945-46 Bethuel Gross
1946-47 R. Dwight Drexler
1947-48 Spencer Green
1948-51 Kenneth Cuthbert
1951-53 George Schick
1953-58 Desiré Defauw
1958-62 Henry Denecke
1962-70 Laurent Torno
1971-74 Bernard Goodman
1975-79 Dr. Paul Vermel
1979-83 Julian Dawson, Robert Luke
1983-84 Julian Dawson
1984-2000 Kenneth Kiesler
2000- Karen Lynne Deal
Board Presidents  
1944-45 Frances Elfstrand Rodwell
1946-47 Walter Colton
1951-52 Dorothy Burritt
1952-53 Dean F. Hilfinger
1953-56 James H. Bicket
1956-58 Dr. Carl M. Neumeyer
1958-60 Robert Randall
1960-61 Dr. Howard Rye
1961-63 Joanne Burrell
1963-66 Ewald Schlenker
1966-68 D. Hodge Fuller
1968-70 Frank Warber
1970-72 Arden K. Nowers
1972-74 Jean C. Hiestand
1974-76 Patricia Yoder
1976-78 Carole M. Ringer
1978-82 John K. Boaz, Ph.D.
1982-84 Patricia Grogg
1984-85 Charles W. Bolen
1985-86 Jack B. Hanks
1986-89 Mark Sherman
1989-90 Franklin G. Matsler
1990-92 Paul Packard
1992-? Susan A. Smart
Guild Presidents  
1961-63 Mrs. Bobbie Rust/ Mrs. Robert Bowen
1963-64 Mrs. Royal J. Bartrum
1964-65 Mrs. Kenneth Carpenter
1965-66 Mrs. Keith Middleton
1966-67 Mrs. Glenn E. Miller
1967-68 Mrs. Allen McKinley
1968-70 Mrs. James Meek
1970-71 Mrs. Martin Compton
1971-72 Mrs. Robert Gipson
1972-74 Mrs. R. Bedford Watkins
1974-75 Mrs. William R. Dunbar
1975-77 Mrs. Cecil E. Petty
1978-79 Mrs. John Yoder
1977-78 Mrs. Hal C. Adelman
1979-80 Mrs. Wayne Townley
1980-81 Mrs. Norton Crowell
1981-82 Mrs. Mary Alice Pinkerton
1982-83 Mrs. Manuel Mendoza
1983-84 Mrs. John Yoder
1984-85 Iva Gibson, Suzanne Kohl
1985-86 Patricia Marcum-Grogg
1986-88 Cheryl Denslow
1988-89 Patricia A. Yoder
1989-90 Debbie Olsen
1990-? Carol Greene

 
Scope and Contents Note

The Bloomington-Normal Symphony Orchestra collection consists of six boxes. The material dates from 1950 to 1997. The B-N Symphony ceased to exist in 1993 when it merged with the Springfield Symphony to form the Illinois Symphony. The two boxes hold a wide range of material. The Bloomington-Normal Symphony Orchestra collection consists of six boxes. The material dates from 1950 to 1997. The B-N Symphony ceased to exist in 1993 when it merged with the Springfield Symphony to form the Illinois Symphony. The two boxes hold a wide range of material.

Box 1
Contains newspaper clippings ranging from 1954 to 1997.
Box 2
Contains a miscellaneous assortment of concert programs, photographs and biographies of guest artists, photographs of Symphony members, concert tickets, concert advertisements, Symphony mailings, and promotional items. The programs are an incomplete set from the years 1950 to 1993. The programs from the 1983-84 season, the group's 40th anniversary, give summaries of the Symphony's first 40 years. Some of the artist photographs are autographed.
Box 3
Contains minutes and financial records dating from 1961 to 1998.
Box 4 and Box 5
Contain season information, from 1952 to 1967 and 1967 to 1978, respectively.
Box 6
Contains a miscellaneous assortment of newsletters, reports, correspondence, Symphony Guild information, etc.

 

Box and Folder Inventory

Box 1
Newspaper Clippings
Folder 1
Newspaper clippings, 1954-69
Folder 2
Newspaper clippings, 1970-72
Folder 3
Newspaper clippings, 1973-74
Folder 4
Newspaper clippings, 1975
Folder 5
Newspaper clippings, 1976-77
Folder 6
Newspaper clippings, 1978-79
Folder 7
Newspaper clippings, 1980-88
Folder 8
Newspaper clippings, 1989
Folder 9
Newspaper clippings, 1990
Folder 10
Newspaper clippings, 1991
Folder 11
Newspaper clippings, 1992
Folder 12
Newspaper clippings, 1993-97
Folder 13
Newspaper clippings, exact dates unknown.

 

Box 2
Miscellaneous Concert Information
Folder 1
Photos of Symphony and Members
Folder 2
Guest Artist Photos and Biographies (A-E)
Folder 3
Guest Artist Photos and Biographies (F-He)
Folder 4
Guest Artist Photos and Biographies (Ho-K)
Folder 5
Guest Artist Photos and Biographies (M-W)
Folder 6
Blank Certificates
Folder 7
Invitations
Folder 8
Letters and Mailings
Folder 9
Concert and Function Advertisements
Folder 10
Ticket Information and Order Forms
Folder 11
Investment Literature
Folder 12
Miscellaneous and Unknown Materials
Folder 13
Tickets
Folder 14
Tickets
Loose materials
Programs, Symphony Guild Books

 

Box 3
Bloomington-Normal Symphony Board Minutes and Reports
Bloomington-Normal Symphony Board Minutes 1961-62, 1962-63, 1963-64 Seasons
Bloomington-Normal Symphony Board Minutes 1964-65, 1965-66, 1966-67 Seasons
Bloomington-Normal Symphony Board Minutes May 31, 1967 - April 15, 1970
Bloomington-Normal Symphony Board Minutes May 1970 -May 1972
Bloomington-Normal Symphony Board Minutes May 1972 -May 1974
Bloomington-Normal Symphony Board Minutes June 1974 - May 1976
Bloomington-Normal Symphony Board Minutes June 1976 - May 1978
Bloomington-Normal Symphony Board Minutes June 1978 - May 1980
Bloomington-Normal Symphony Board Minutes June 1980 - May 1982
Bloomington-Normal Symphony Board Minutes June 1982 - May 1983
Bloomington-Normal Symphony Board Minutes June 1983 - May 1984
Bloomington-Normal Symphony Board Minutes June 1 - December 31, 1984
Bloomington-Normal Symphony Board Minutes January 1 - May 31, 1985
Bloomington-Normal Symphony Board Minutes July 1985 - June 1986
Bloomington-Normal Symphony Board Minutes June 23, 1986 - June 15, 1987
Bloomington-Normal Symphony Board Minutes July 1987 - May 1988
Bloomington-Normal Symphony Board Minutes June 1988 - May 1989
Bloomington-Normal Symphony Board Minutes June 1989 - June 1990
Bloomington-Normal Symphony Board Minutes June 1990 - June 1991
Bloomington-Normal Symphony Board Minutes June 1991 - June 1992
Illinois Symphony Orchestra Board Minutes March 26, 1996 - June 22, 1998
B-N Symphony Financial Records June 1, 1957 - May 31, 1969
Financial Statements and Auditors' Reports May 31, 1987 and 1986
Financial Statements and Auditors' Reports May 31, 1989 and 1986
Financial Statements and Auditors' Reports May 31, 1989 and 1988
Financial Statements and Auditors' Reports May 31, 1990 and 1989
Financial Statements and Auditors' Reports May 31, 1992 and 1991 (2)
Financial Statements and Auditors' Reports May 31, 1993 and 1992
Financial Statements and Auditors' Reports June 30, 1993

 

Box 4
Season Information
Folder 1
Season Information 1952-54
Folder 2
Season Information 1954-55
Folder 3
Season Information 1955-56
Folder 4
Season Information 1956-57
Folder 5
Season Information 1957-58
Folder 6
Season Information 1958-59
Folder 7
Season Information 1959-60
Folder 8
Season Information 1960-61
Folder 9
Season Information 1961-62
Folder 10
Season Information 1962-63
Folder 11
Season Information 1963-64
Folder 12
Season Information 1964-65
Folder 13
Season Information 1965-66
Folder 14
Season Information 1966-67

 

Box 5
Season Information Continued
Folder 1
Season Information 1952-54
Folder 2
Season Information 1954-55
Folder 3
Season Information 1955-56
Folder 4
Season Information 1956-57
Folder 5
Season Information 1957-58
Folder 6
Season Information 1958-59
Folder 7
Season Information 1959-60
Folder 8
Season Information 1960-61
Folder 9
Season Information 1961-62
Folder 10
Season Information 1962-63
Folder 11
Season Information 1963-64
Folder 12
Season Information 1964-65
Folder 13
Season Information 1965-66
Folder 14
Season Information 1966-67

 

Box 6
Correspondence
Folder 1
Correspondence, Guest List, Planning Committee Information
Folder 2
Correspondence, Scholarship Proposal, Docent Information
Folder 3
Correspondence
Folder 4
Correspondence
Folder 5
Correspondence
Folder 6
Correspondence
Folder 7
Correspondence
Folder 8
Correspondence
Folder 9
Correspondence
Folder 10
Correspondence
Folder 11
Correspondence
Folder 12
Correspondence
Folder 13
Correspondence
Folder 14
Correspondence
Folder 15
Correspondence
Folder 16
Correspondence
Folder 17
Correspondence
Folder 18
Correspondence

 

McLean County Museum of History Collections and Research