“…music appeals to the heart.”
–Dr. Robert Hargreaves
During the late 1940’s, Dr. Robert Hargreaves had the vision of creating a professional orchestra in the city of Muncie. With help from the newly formed Muncie Civic and College Symphony Association, he began recruiting Ball State University faculty members, BSU music students, and musicians from the community, as well as players outside of the local area. A few months later, the Muncie Symphony Orchestra played a dress rehearsal for one-thousand and one-hundred city school children. That was the first Children’s Concert. Later that evening under conductor Robert Hargreaves, seventy-five musicians performed with the MSO for the first official concert on March 31, 1950. It was a near sellout, with the orchestra performing Brahm’s Second Symphony in D Major, Debussy’s Nocturne No. 2: “Fetes,” the Habanera “Lazy Cigarette” from Robert Braine’s Suite of Choreographic Impressions, and the London Suite by Eric Coates.
In the early years of the orchestra, the musicians were divided roughly into thirds- one-third being out-of-town players from other symphony orchestras in the area, especially the Indianapolis Symphony; one-third students and faculty members from Ball State Teachers College; and one-third local musicians, many of whom were Ball State graduates or had professional music experience elsewhere.