Take Me Out To The Symphony: The Cleveland Orchestra and The Cleveland Indians

Monday, April 5, 2010 ·

"Indipops" Concerts in 1953

In 1953, The Cleveland Orchestra’s popular summer series of “Pops” Concerts at Public Auditorium couldn’t be held because the auditorium was closed for renovations (including new air conditioning). What could the Orchestra do instead? Where could they play?

In early April, Cleveland News reporter Ernest Wittenberg sparked an idea to have the summer orchestra play pre-game concerts before select Indians home games at Municipal Stadium.

And so, with enthusiastic support from many citizens (and new sound equipment purchased by the city especially for the purpose), assistant conductor Louis Lane and the Cleveland Summer Orchestra appeared on field for twelve Indians games.

The series, which quickly became known as the “Indipops,” created much discussion in the papers and across the city as to whether baseball and a symphony orchestra really belonged in the same setting.

The experiment lasted only one season, however; in 1954, the Orchestra went back to Public Auditorium and the Indians went on to the World Series.

--Excerpted from The Cleveland Orchestra’s program book, August 10, 1991.

Cleveland Indians players pose in front of the Orchestra performing at Municipal Stadium in 1953. Bob Feller is the player on the far left.

Jacobs Field Opening in 1994

On April 4, 1994, members of The Cleveland Orchestra and the Cleveland Orchestra Chorus, conducted by Gareth Morrell, performed the National Anthem at the Indians' first game in the new ballpark. President Bill Clinton attended to throw the first ceremonial pitch.

Members of The Cleveland Orchestra and Chorus perform the National Anthem at the opening of Jacobs Field on April 4, 1994.

Star-Spangled Celebration at Jacob's Field in 1994

On July 5, 1994, The Cleveland Orchestra made its second appearance at Jacob's Field, performing its Star-Spangled Celebration at Jacob's Field. The annual free concert of patriotic music, conducted by Jahja Ling, attracted thousands to the baseball park.

Tom Morris, then-Executive Director of The Cleveland Orchestra, was quoted as saying, “We are very excited to be bringing the Orchestra to Jacob’s Field for a concert that will showcase two institutions which represent the best qualities of our city.”

The Orchestra has performed an annual free outdoor concert celebrating Independence Day for 20 years, with the next concert on Thursday, July 2, at Public Square in downtown Cleveland.

1995 World Series

When the Indians were in the 1995 world series, everyone in Cleveland was watching. The photo below appeared on the front page of the October 22, 1995, edition of the Sunday Plain Dealer. The caption read "These glum Tribe fans, who also happen to be members of the Cleveland Orchestra, take advantage of intermission to catch part of to the first game of the World series. Unfortunately, they caught the 7th inning when the Atlanta Braves scored the winning runs."

(Photo: David Anderson/Plain Dealer Photographer.)

Images courtesy of the Cleveland Orchestra Archives.


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