Muncie Symphony Orchestra celebrates 70th anniversary with Festival on the Green

Gloomy skies and the possibility of rain, did not stop participants, organizers and attendees from attending the free musical concert.

Muncie Symphony Orchestra organized their “Festival on the Green” event Saturday at the Jo Ann Gora Student Recreation and Wellness Center, to mark their 70th season in the Muncie community.

“We’ve been doing, if not this outdoor concert, outdoor concerts for the community for the better part of these 70 years,” said Jennifer Johnson, executive director of Muncie Symphony Orchestra.

Geared in Star Trek costumes, in accordance to the season’s theme “To Infinity and Beyond,” Sarah McCord and Kathy Rapkin, competed against each other in a fundraiser for the orchestra for a chance to conduct the Muncie Symphony Orchestra as a superconductor.

“Two people of three people generally go up against each other, but you know what, let’s put the fun back in fundraiser and have fun and that’s what Sarah and I have done,” Rapkin said. “We’ve had a lot of fun with this.”

Both conductors, attempted to raise as much money as they could with one dollar counting as one vote. Kathleen Rapkin with the most votes won the contest and but in good spirit conducted the Star Trek theme song alongside Sarah Mccord. 

“It was exhilarating. It was so much fun. There aren’t words to describe it,” Rapkin said on the experience. 

While Rapkin and McCord were both good friends and competitive, they were both motivated by the need to raise money for the orchestra.

“It’s one of their larger fundraisers. So, we’ve been trying really hard to raise as much as we can,” McCord said.

The concert also included music from movies like “E.T.” and “Star Wars,” and other space-themed music.

“It’s a wonderful sampling of what is offered in our community from all over our city, not just one area,” Johnson said, referring to the other organizations from the Muncie community in attendance like Cornerstone Center for the Arts, Muncie Civic Theatre, Second Harvest Foodbank and Hillcroft Services.

Since the event was free and open to the public, she said many people in the community consider it to be “a great time to come out, and engage in social interactions, and be part of a community.

“Having a professional symphony orchestra in a community like ours hopefully contributes positively to the quality of life here in Muncie,” Johnson said. “It is a great fundraiser for us because it’s fun. People enjoy contributing and they want to see who wins in the end.”

She said she hopes the event brings attention to other events organized by the orchestra adding that their events are free for K-12 and Ball State students.

“We want to get people to understand that the symphony is amazing. We’re very fortunate to have such a fabulous symphony in town,” Rapkin said.

Contact Rohith Rao with comments at or on Twitter @RaoReports. Contact Britney S. Kendrick with comments at


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