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Indiana Bicentennial Celebration 2016

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Legacy Projects > “Middletown Cantata” and its Premier at Middletown USA Concert “Middletown Cantata” and its Premier at Middletown USA Concert

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Masterworks Chorale commissioned a new choral symphonic work inspired by Muncie’s sesquicentennial and to be premiered at our Middletown USA Concert in celebration of Indiana’s Bicentennial. We collaborated with the Center for Middletown Studies and the BSU Libraries to select passages from their oral history archives as the basis and text for this composition highlighting Muncie’s history and character as a representative of many towns in the American Midwest.

Masterworks Chorale is giving the premier performance of the “Middletown Cantata” to the community free of charge and making it a commemorative event, including civic leaders from local and state government and a large audience including many of the individuals interviewed for the Middletown archives. We are collaborating with Motivate Our Minds to engage at-risk children in this project by taking them on a field trip to the BSU archives to learn about its use in creating the “Middleton Cantata” and then working with them to create a display for the concert expressing their feelings about Muncie as Middletown. Both the “Middletown Cantata” and the children’s project will become a part of the Middletown archives.

Q&A with Legacy Project Organization Masterworks Chorale

What do you consider the key accomplishment of your Legacy Project?

The Chorale presented “Middletown USA,” a free concert event for the community on Saturday, May 14, 2016, at 7:30pm at Muncie Central High School to a large, receptive audience of almost 700 people. The highlight of “Middletown USA” was the world premiere performance of "Middletown Chronicles: The Making of Middletown, America", a choral symphonic piece composed by award-winning Indiana composer Dr. Marjorie Rusche and commissioned by Masterworks Chorale in honor of Muncie’s sesquicentennial and in celebration of Indiana’s bicentennial.

“Middletown USA” not only included the world premiere performance of "Middletown Chronicles" but also featured a Presentation of the Colors by the Sons of the American Revolution, a proclamation by Muncie Mayor Dennis Tyler, and visual images on two large screens provided by The Center for Middletown Studies and the Archives and Special Collections to accompany the music. High School students from the Muncie
Central Select Choir helped lead the audience in a rousing sing-a-long of the Indiana State song.

In the lobby of the auditorium, Masterworks Chorale had two displays. One display was photos and narrative of our history as a nonprofit arts organization serving Muncie and East Central Indiana for the last 38 years. The other display, sponsored by the Indy 500 Gives Back program, was of the connections between Muncie and East Central Indiana and the Indianapolis 500. This display included photos and descriptions of the
links between our community and the last 100 years of traditions surrounding the great race.

Masterworks Chorale also partnered with Motivate Our Minds to share the Middletown history and experience with a group of local students. These 4th and 5th graders visited the BSU Libraries Archives and Special Collections to learn about Muncie’s history as Middletown. The children worked with a team from the Chorale to create their own works of art in response to their experience. The children created a sculpture, a scrapbook, and several posters with subjects ranging from their favorite places in Muncie, historic statues around town, famous Muncie native Emily Kimbrough, and a comparison of Muncie Then and Now. One young lady even wrote
lyrics in tribute to Muncie set to the music of “I’m Proud to be an American” and performed the song live at the concert. The audience enjoyed these displays also in the lobby outside the auditorium before and after the performance and was especially impressed with the young singer. After the “Middletown USA” Event, the children’s works of art became permanent additions to the Middletown archives.

WIPB, our local PBS affiliate, made a documentary about the creation of "Middletown Chronicles: The Making of Middletown, America" which included filming the concert in its entirety. The concert was first broadcast on WIPB on Thursday, June 16, 2016, from 9:00pm to 10:00pm. The video as well as supplemental interviews with our Artistic Director Andrew Crow and composer Dr. Marjorie Rusche can be viewed on the station website by following this link:

Describe a highlight or most memorable moment related to your Legacy Project.

  • The enthusiasm of our audience surrounding the event provided significant highlights-- fitting since these are the Hoosiers that the event was designed to celebrate. Many patrons arrived early for a pre-concert talk about the conception of the featured cantata. Many more thronged the lobby displays while waiting for the auditorium doors to open. And they lingered again in the lobby of historic Muncie Central High School long after the performance ended, seeking out Chorale performers, our young guest artists, the mayor, and the composer to offer congratulations and joyful praise.

How/where are you preserving information and artifacts related to your Legacy Project?

  • The Center for Middletown Studies at Ball State University. Archives and Special Collections, Ball State University Libraries.

Total number of volunteers who participated.

  • 115

Estimated total attendance.

  • 796

Estimated dollar amount raised.

  • $30,944

Estimated dollar amount spent.

  • $30,944

Masterworks Chorale "Middletown USA" Planning Committee

  • Andrew Crow, Artistic Director, Masterworks Chorale
  • Mary Mordue, Committee Chair and Current Past-President, Masterworks Chorale Board of Directors
  • Denise Reeves, President, Masterworks Chorale Board of Directors
  • James Pyle, Vice President, Masterworks Chorale Board of Directors
  • Darlenia Thomas, Secretary, Masterworks Chorale Board of Directors
  • Leonard Atherton, Masterworks Chorale Board of Directors
  • Don Crose, Masterworks Chorale Board of Directors
  • Judy Gillum, Masterworks Chorale Board of Directors
  • Diane Hill, Masterworks Chorale Board of Directors
  • Bethany Tibbs, Masterworks Chorale Board of Directors
  • Steven Turpin, Masterworks Chorale Board of Directors
  • Elizabeth Zurzolo, Masterworks Chorale Board of Directors
  • Kerry Glann, Assistant Artistic Director, Masterworks Chorale
  • Barbara Briner-Jones, Accompanist, Masterworks Chorale
  • Andy Saxon, Office Manager, Masterworks Chorale
  • Kimberly Cuthbertson, Bookkeeper, Masterworks Chorale
  • Terry Whitt Bailey, Director of Community Development for the City of Muncie
  • Megan Jones, Singer, Masterworks Chorale
  • Michelle Kinsey, Community Engagement Coordinator, WIPB-TV and Indiana Public Radio at Ball State University
  • Meryl Mantione, Singer, Masterworks Chorale
  • Al Rent, Executive Director and General Manager, Public Broadcasting Operations at Ball State University.
  • Gail Townsend, Singer, Masterworks Chorale

Project Details