Photo by Leslie Plesser

The Bloomington Symphony Orchestra was founded in 1963 when Bloomington resident Paul W. “Doc” Evans, the nationally renowned jazz musician (1907– 1977) decided that the City of Bloomington needed a symphony orchestra to provide orchestral music for its citizens, as well as an organization where instrumentalists could develop their musical skills. Gene Kelly, the Director of the Bloomington Parks and Recreation Department, served as the BSO’s President and Treasurer for the first twenty years of the group. The BSO reorganized with a new Board of Directors in 1976, with original members Gene Kelly, Orchestra President and Board Chairman; Mrs. James Pickard, Treasurer; Vonda Vettrus, Secretary; Paul Evans, Orchestra Director; I.S. Arazi, Orchestra Manager; Dr. Clifford Phibbs, Jr., Donald Heinzman, John Dennis, Mrs. Luther Ford, Gary Gandrud, Frances Berns, Gordon Paske, James Chlebecek, James Bontrager, Charles Wood, David Docter, Dr. Harley Racer, Mrs. E.H. Stock, Directors. 

Notable Music Directors include Steven Amundson, William LaRue Jones, Akira Mori, and Joseph Schlefke. The BSO has been under the baton of Music Director and conductor Manny Laureano since 2013.

Watch this page for links to past concert programs, and listings of past board members and musicians.

Some of the narrative information was adapted from the historical notes compiled by Vonda Vettrus as listed in the 30th Anniversary concert program.