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Robert G. Jones
1979 - 2004

Robert JonesRobert Jones joined the faculty of the Manchester College Music Department in 1968 and was appointed conductor of the Manchester Symphony Orchestra in 1979. Before his appointment to the Manchester College faculty, Mr. Jones held teaching positions at Wichita State University, McPherson College (KS), where he was conductor of the McPherson Symphony Orchestra, and the University of Montana, where he also was principal clarinetist with the Missoula Symphony Orchestra. He participated in American Symphony Orchestra League conducting institutes in Monterey, California, and Ann Arbor, Michigan. From 1980 to 1995 he was a member of the Fort Wayne Philharmonic, playing clarinet and bass clarinet.

Mr. Jones received the baccalaureate degree from Northern Arizona University where, as a student, he was principal clarinet with the Flagstaff Symphony Orchestra. he earned the Master of Music degree in clarinet performance from Wichita State University and did additional graduate study at Indiana University and Ball State University. His background in clarinet included private study with Clark Brody, former principal clarinet of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, Bernard Portnoy, former clarinet professor at Indiana University, Lawrey Bloom, bass clarinetist with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, and James Pyne, clarinet professor at Ohio State University.

In addition to conducting the Manchester Symphony Orchestra, Mr. Jones' teaching responsibilities at Manchester College included applied woodwind instruction and courses in conduction, orchestration, and fine arts appreciation. Mr. Jones performed in recital on numerous occasions on the Manchester College campus and as a guest recitalist at Valparaiso University, Huntington College, and Ball State University.

Robert and his wife, Stephanie, were North Manchester residents for over 34 years, raising their three children, Eric, Wendy, and Robyn, during that time. Stephanie, Eric, and Robyn were former members of the Manchester Symphony Orchestra.

 

A Personal Note
(from the May 2, 2004, concert program)

"This is a special concert for me because it marks the end of my twenty-five years as conductor of the Manchester Symphony Orchestra -- and in a few more weeks the beginning of retirement from my position at Manchester College, one that I have held for thirty-six years. Obviously, it is a day of strong emotions that are difficult for me to sort out. That process will take time.

"I want to express my appreciation to you, the audience, for loyal attendance at concerts, and for the warm and generous comments that you convey to me after every performance. Your positive response is important to all of the musicians involved in our performances.

"To members of the Manchester Symphony Society and its Board of Directors, thank you for generous financial support and the investment of time and energy in promoting, publicizing, and carrying out the many tasks that are involved in the operation of this orchestra. While stories of orchestras in severe financial difficulty are common these days, the MSO continues to carry on a sixty-five year tradition with no threat to our existence. I value the many good friendships that have been made because of my association with the society and the board of directors.

"To Manchester College and its past and present administrations, thank you for the ongoing commitment and support for the MSO and for its inclusion in the Manchester College curriculum. It is unlikely that our long tradition could have been maintained without the joint efforts of college and community.

"Finally, and most important, I must recognize the invaluable contribution of all members, past and present, of the Manchester Symphony Orchestra -- students, college faculty and staff, community volunteers, and professionals. Ultimately, the success of any music ensemble depends not on the conductor but on the talent and dedication of the musicians. It has been my privilege to work with you for twenty-five years and I appreciate your supportive attitude and your dedication to our goals. Not all conductors are as fortunate.

"I leave this orchestra knowing that it will be in good hands with my successor and trusting that all of you involved in the enterprise will continue to give the same kind of support and loyalty that I have enjoyed for twenty-five years."

-- Bob Jones