Heading for the heaviest concert schedule in its 133-year history, the Pierian Sodality of 1808 is fulfilling its purpose "to maintain, increase, and advance orchestral music" better than ever this year, according to its officers.
On its spring tour, the organization, commonly known as the Harvard University. Orchestra, will take part in a musical festival at the Farmville State Teachers College at Farmville, Virginia.
In this concert it will join with a chorus of women from Duke University, the Harvard Glee Club, the Duke University Glee Club, and the State Teachers College Choir and Choral Socity in a mass performance of Handel's Messiah.
Conductor Malcolm H. Holmes '28, who directed the orchestra for nine years, has selected little known music for his concerts. Besides the Haydn Symphony No. 1 (the Drum Roll), the one well-known piece on the programs, the orchestra is rehearsing selections such as "Variations on "Mary Had a Little Lamb", written by Professor Edward E. Ballantine '07 and orchestrated by Robert U. Jameson '32, former Pierian president. A clever satire on the work of Schuber, Tschaikovsky, MacDowell, and Wagner, the work of the various composers is easily recognizable in the composition even by amateurs.
In joint concerts with groups from other colleges, the orchestra will perform five chorals, among them being DeBussy's. "Blessed Damosel" to be played with Sweet Briar College; Nagle's "Solitary Reaper"; "The Artisan," by Harriet Ware; and the "Messiah," by Handel.
Recently the Society chose its officers for 1941. Those elected were Allen W. Greene '42 of Leverett house and Passaic, New Jersey, President, Roger A. Cunningham '42 of Lowell House and Thomas I. Crowell '43 of Lowell House and Caldwell, New Jersey, secretary. Brachman is the concertmaster of the orchestra, while Cunningham is assistant concertmaster. Past directors of the orchestra include such well known men as Walter Piston '24, Nicholas Slonimsky, and G. Wallaco Woodworth '24.
Entirely student-run and supported, the orchestra claims to be the father of the Boston Symphony Orchestra, as well as of the Harvard Glee Club and the Music Department, the first one to be established in the country. Up until 1880 the Pierian consisted merely of a few musicians who gathered together to play college songs. However, from that time on the orchestra grew in importance, first under student conductors, and then under professionals, until it finally reached its present level of excellence.