Special to the Tribune-Star
We are fortunate in Terre Haute to have a fine symphony orchestra as one of our entertainment venues. Enjoyed for years by many, the Terre Haute Symphony Orchestra is the second oldest civic orchestra in the state of Indiana.
While the first Terre Haute Symphony Orchestra was begun in 1901 by Carl Ellis Eppert, it disbanded a few years later when the conductor departed for Germany where he had accepted a scholarship. In 1926, William H. Bryant, an assistant professor of music at Indiana State Normal School, organized an orchestra of 48 members to provide to the Terre Haute audience a broad musical experience at an affordable ticket price.
This all-volunteer orchestra was brought together when a committee of the Woman’s Department Club inquired about the possibility of getting an orchestra to play for their state convention at the Indiana Theatre on Dec. 4, 1926. After this beginning, concerts were staged in various downtown locations, such as the Shrine Temple and the Hippodrome Theater. But in 1936, Ralph N. Tirey, president of Indiana State Teachers College, offered the use of its concert hall. This association with Indiana State University has continued with Tirey Memorial Auditorium becoming the home of the Orchestra.
After 23 years, Will Bryant retired in 1949, and for the next 21 years the Symphony Orchestra was directed by Dr. James Barnes. During his tenure, the name was changed from Terre Haute Civic and Community Symphony Orchestra to the Terre Haute Symphony Orchestra; members of the orchestra began to receive monetary compensation; the schedule was expanded; and fundraising began. Barnes retired as Symphony conductor in 1970. His tenure was followed by Dr. Victor Danek (1970-78), Dr. Ramon E. Meyer (1978-95), and Dr. Cindy Egolf-Sham Rao (1995-97). Since 1997, the Terre Haute Symphony Orchestra has been conducted by musical director Dr. David Bowden. In addition, he is principal conductor for the Carmel Symphony Orchestra and the Columbus (Ind.) Philharmonic Orchestra.
Through the past 87 years, dedicated and talented men and women have enriched the Terre Haute community by providing a high quality of music for the pleasure of the public.
• The Vigo County Historical Society’s museum is at 1411 S. Sixth St. Hours are 1 to 4 p.m. Tuesday through