October 14, 2011

Music Forever

By: Cindee M. Cox

In music composition, the notes begin in the composer’s heart and end on the musical staff. A rhythm is born, carrying the melody to far reaching places and hopefully into the hearts of others.
The beauty of music is that it may be shared from one friend to another, from teacher to student, or generation to generation.
Music is a gift that is forever received.
David and Mary Jane Sursa have given the Muncie community this extraordinary gift—music forever.
In 1949, the Sursas were asked to be a part of a musical legacy: the composition of a symphony orchestra.
The Sursa family began a 63 year investment that included commitments such as hiring a babysitter for the musicians, baking cookies, selling tickets, taking tickets at the concerts, planning concerts, and managing the orchestra’s finances. After years of hard work, the Sursas and other founders of the symphony were well into this successful composition of a musical orchestra.
The Sursa’s legacy began with commitment and dedication. Just as musical compositions have a peak, so did the Sursa’s legacy of support. In 2004, David and Mary Jane Sursa were named benefactors of Sursa Hall, the cornerstone of the music instruction building at Ball State University.
In the early days of construction of the performance hall, it was expected that it would eventually house a pipe organ, but there was no donor and no specific plan for an instrument.
The Sursas decided that they would be benefactors for a pipe organ so that University musicians would have a place to practice and perform organ on campus for the first time in the University’s history.
Mary Jane Sursa recently recalled the conversation she had with her husband:
We had been there for the groundbreaking of Sursa Hall before there were plans for an organ. We took tours regularly. David’s mind was always working. He wanted to be sure there was an organ in the hall. One morning David said, “I was thinking about this last night. I’ve got it figured out. We’re going to do the organ.” So we had a meeting: David, Ann (Sursa Carney), and I, Bob Kvam, and Kirby Koriath. There was still time to make the necessary alterations to the south side of the building, to decide on an organ builder, and to design an instrument. It was David’s vision that brought all this about. He had a great vision.
You see the students at Ball State. When they practiced their organ music and had recitals, they used to go to local churches. Now they can do all that on campus. And the community benefits from the instrument as well.
--Mary Jane Sursa
The Sursas had a great vision. They’ve made music a gift that will forever be received from teachers to students and from generation to generation. 
Please join the Muncie Symphony Orchestra and organist Ann Sursa Carney for the first ever performance of the Symphony with organ, in “Sursa at Sursa.” The performance is on October 15 at 7:30 p.m. in Sursa Hall. Tickets are available through Ticketmaster and the Emens box office.

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