1971 was a very ambitious and active year for the BSO musicians and for the young WABS (Women’s Association of the Brevard Symphony, which later became known as today’s Guilds). WABS members raised money, ushered, sold tickets, attended performances and did whatever they could for the BSO. Publicity and community support were great. BSO had just celebrated the 200th anniversary of Beethoven’s birth with performing his Ninth Symphony on December 20, 1970. It had a chorus of 100 and completely sold out Melbourne Auditorium. It was especially interesting to read about as we recently enjoyed this masterpiece at the King Center, as our 2015-2016 season first concert.
In 1971 Eastern Florida State College/EFSC was Brevard Community/Junior College, and Florida Tech was known as FIT. There were three BSO Chamber Music concerts in people’s homes, with the same concerts repeated that evening at the BCC Central/Cocoa campus. There was a free Youth Concert at Merritt Island High School in February. “Music March” featured three performances of a Tchaikovsky and Mozart concert at several locations, with a completely sold out Auditorium in Melbourne. Conductor Joseph Kreines spoke to the WABS Membership Coffee (current and potential members) at FIT. The May concert, “Schubert Meets Rock” featured Schubert’s 7th Symphony, and with 6 young musicians doing Rock themes, including some music from “Hair”. The BSO also performed at the FIT commencement in June.
The Melbourne Junior Women’s Club gave the $381 proceeds of a Nicole Marionette show for youth to BSO, with a newspaper photo showing a marionette handing the check to WABS President Dottie Blue. The Melbourne Times noted that $850 was awarded BSO from the Fine Arts Council in Tallahassee, due BSO’s reduced funds from aerospace industry cutbacks. The WABS May meeting and fashion show featured BSO musicians demonstrating their Strings demonstrations, which were being done in 12 local schools and PTAs. WABS and BSO members were urged to sign petitions and urge the Board of Education to approve a plan for hiring 5 new elementary school music teachers, with essential equipment, to begin in the Fall. The plan, begun by Brevard music teachers, included a list of benefits derived from musical education for youth.