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Beginning its one hundred thirty-fourth season this year, the Harvard Orchestra, known as the Pierian Sodality of 1808, is the oldest and one of the finest amateur classical orchestras in the country.
Deems Taylor, prominent music critic and composer, in recognition of its merit, reviewed and evaluated the history of the Pierian on the regular Sunday Afternoon Concert of the Columbia Broadcasting Company last week.
At present, the orchestra is composed of about 45 members. It was founded in 1808, mainly for the purpose of serenading professors' daughters and playing popular or semi-popular music. For a period around 1832, the group had but one member, who met and kept notes of these meetings so as to preserve uninterrupted the tradition of the society.
Around 1870 with the formation of the Music Department, the music played by the group began to take a classical turn. Around the turn of the century, as the Pierian Sodality had the talent and the members were becoming more interested in classical music, the programs became predominantly serious.
In the past the orchestra has had Walter Piston and G. Wallace Woodworth '24 as conductors. This marks the tenth year that Malcolm H. Holmes '28, conductor of the Radcliffe and Wellesley Orchestra, has conducted the orchestra.
On this year's schedule, the orchestra plans to go to Virgiuia for its spring trip. Two years ago the Pierian made its first long trip to Virginia, and it has continued these excursions annually since. The society will visit Princeton, Mary Baldwin, and Sweet Briar during the trip:
As its main Cambridge concert of the year, the Pierian Sodality will join with the Princeton Glee Club and the Radcliffe Choral Society for a concert on March 15 in Sanders Tehatre. The program is tentatively scheduled to consistentirely of Bach.
One of the most popular features of the orchestra's activities is the custom of having several sight-reading evenings a year. In these, well-known musical pieces are read at sight in conjunction with Wellesley and Radcliffe girls. Anyone may participate in these meetings, whether he belongs to the orchestra or not.
Allen W. Green '42 is president of the Pierian Sodality for this year, and Warren E. Fleischuar '42 and Robert Jaffe '44 are managers.
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