It has become a habit to explain "Harvard Indifference" as nothing more than a tendency to mind one's own business. That explanation is, after all, an excellent one. It is strictly in keeping with Professor James's famous Harvard ideal, which sees the University as a sort of "Fields of the Blessed" where each comer may pursue his own desires without the compulsion or the hindrance of what his fellows may be doing or thinking.
Accordingly, activities spring up in the University without much blowing of trumpets; if they meet no genuine need, they soon pass into oblivion and no one but their unlucky sponsors mourns their departure. But if they have any excuse for existence, they take root and thrive without artificial encouragement. Those who have a use for them seek them out and profit by the opportunities they offer; while those who have no concern with their purposes need not be urged to support them.
Such an institution is the Pierian Sodality Orchestra, which reached its one hundred and sixteenth year of existence in the University with its annual concert yesterday. Antedating practically all other college organizations, and older by over half a century than the longest-established metropolitan orchestras, it can claim an enviable seniority. Many of its past leaders have won names in the musical world, and from the work of some of its members came the suggestion which prompted Major Higginson to found the Boston Symphony itself.
The Pierian has gone its way quickly for more than a century with an increasing reputation for what is best in college music, and has continued to attract to its ranks the musically talented and to its audiences the musically appreciative. If any "activity" in the University has asserted its right to vigorous existence, it is the Pierian Sodality.