July 15, 2021 at 11:30am
Dane Lisser

"Music can bring us all together and continues to serve as an important and relevant factor in our lives."

The Millikin-Decatur Symphony Orchestra (MDSO) has announced plans to resume in-person concerts for the 2021-22 performance season. Under the direction of Dr. William McClain, the Millikin-Decatur Symphony Orchestra is an ensemble comprised of faculty, hired professionals and is open to students who successfully audition for the Millikin University School of Music. Membership in the MDSO places a high demand on students who gain hands-on experience by playing side-by-side with faculty and other professionals in a nurturing environment.

"Music can bring us all together and continues to serve as an important and relevant factor in our lives," McClain said. "It is a true pleasure to contemplate a new season and the prospect of a return to live music performances. I am looking forward to getting to know everyone even more as we continue our journey together. We have an exciting season planned for 2021-22. We are committed to our community and to fostering the next generation of concert-goers."

Millikin-Decatur Symphony Orchestra

The MDSO will open its 2021-22 performance season with a return to the Devon Lakeshore Amphitheater for its annual Labor Day Pops Concert on Monday, Sept. 6. The event will feature an exciting afternoon with stops at the movies, the theatre stage and a tribute to our Nation's Armed Forces. 

On Saturday, Sept. 25, the MDSO will celebrate the new season with a night of classic favorites including Mozart's "Piano Concerto No. 9" in E-flat major featuring Chung-Ha Kim, pianist and faculty member at Millikin. The concert will also feature an exhilarating performance of Beethoven's "Eroica" Symphony No. 3.

As part of the MDSO's Masterworks II concert on Saturday, Oct. 23, the symphony orchestra will go "Bach to Bartók" featuring the famous "Air on the G string," Bach's Orchestral Suite No. 2 – a majestic "tour de force" showcasing the MDSO's virtuoso performers on trumpets and oboes. The MDSO will conclude the evening with "Music for Strings, Percussion, and Celesta" by 20th century Hungarian composer Béla Bartók.

In the above video, Dr. McClain shares details on his role as conductor of the MDSO and the 2021-22 season.

From Nov. 12-14, the MDSO will partner with the Millikin School of Theatre & Dance for a performance of the Tony Award-winning romantic comedy "She Loves Me."

For the start of 2022, the MDSO will showcase the winners of the Millikin School of Music's annual Concerto/Aria competition on Saturday, Feb. 5, in a concert paired with the enduring "Pathétique" Symphony No. 6 by Tchaikovsky, an epic hero saga with many ups and downs, including the celebrated fanfare and festive third movement.

Millikin-Decatur Symphony Orchestra

The MDSO's Masterworks IV concert on Saturday, March 5, will feature the colors of the American "Soundscape" with a performance of William Grant Still's Symphony No. 1 "Afro-American." Known as the "Dean of African American Composers," Still brought a fresh source of inspiration to the symphonic genre, introducing the sounds of Blues, Ragtime and Spirituals as a true American vernacular. The MDSO will also welcome Clayton Stephenson, who was named the 2017 U.S. Presidential Scholar in the Arts and a prize winner of the 2015 Van Cliburn Junior International Competition, for a performance of the "Concerto in One Movement" by Florence Price. 

For its season finale on Saturday, April 9, the MDSO will team up with the Millikin Union of Choirs and enter a world of nymphs, mythical gods and heroines in a performance of Ravel's impressionistic masterpiece, "Daphnis and Chloe."

"Whether you enjoy the full power of the modern orchestra sound or the light sweetness of impressionist resonance, there is an MDSO for everyone," McClain said. "Join us for the 2021-22 season as we stand poised for the future and the continuation of a long tradition of excellence, artistry, and contributions to the cultural life and vibrancy of Decatur [Ill.]."

Millikin-Decatur Symphony Orchestra 2021-22 Performance Season

Labor Day Pops 

Monday, Sept. 6, 2021 | 6 p.m.

Devon Lakeshore Amphitheater

$5 lawn, $10 seated area

Masterworks I: Opening Night — Eroica!

Saturday, Sept. 25, 2021 | 7:30 p.m.

Kirkland Fine Arts Center


Masterworks II: Bach to Bartok

Saturday, Oct. 23, 2021 | 7:30 p.m.

Kirkland Fine Arts Center


Millikin-Decatur Symphony Orchestra

She Loves Me 

Music by Jerry Bock

Book by Joe Masteroff

Lyrics by Sheldon Harnick

Friday, Nov. 12, 2021 | 7:30 p.m.

Saturday, Nov. 13, 2021 | 7:30 p.m. 

Sunday, Nov. 14, 2021 | 2 p.m.

Kirkland Fine Arts Center


Masterworks III: Pathétique and Young Artists

Saturday, Feb. 5, 2022 | 7:30 p.m.

Kirkland Fine Arts Center


Masterworks IV: American Soundscapes: Afro-American

Saturday, March 5, 2022 | 7:30 p.m.

Kirkland Fine Arts Center


Masterworks V: Choral Portraits with Millikin Union of Choirs

Saturday, April 9, 2022 | 7:30 pm.

Kirkland Fine Arts Center


The mission of the Millikin University School of Music is to develop the whole musician – artistically, intellectually, technically – through the integration of theory and practice in an environment where students become active learners through their relationships with faculty, who themselves continue to grow as artists, scholars and teachers.

Millikin's nationally recognized School of Music brings relevant, performance-based opportunities to all facets of undergraduate music education. With five distinctive music degree programs and additional certificate options, students find their path to professional success through a blending of creative, performative, scholarly and entrepreneurial experiences designed to train the next generation of music professionals.