Ball State University kicked off its Centennial Celebration on September 6, 2018 with the premiere of “From Normal to Extraordinary: Ball State’s First Century,” a student-produced documentary.

The Ball State Symphony Orchestra (BSSO), led by Director of Orchestras Douglas Droste, accompanied the screening with a live performance in Emens Auditorium. The documentary score was written by Dr. Jim Rhinehart, assistant professor of music theory at the School of Music. Professors Rhinehart and Droste reflect on their experiences composing and conducting the film score respectively.

“To write the music, I met with John, the director, and he gave me his thoughts for how the music would work. Since it’s a documentary, he thought it would be interesting to make the music match the era being talked about. So, when the movie is discussing the late 1800s and early 1900s, I wrote ragtime-inspired music. For the 30s and 40s, it’s a jazz feel. Later in the movie, there’s not as much difference in styles. I just tried to make the music interesting, with a sense of momentum and energy. It was fun to work with TCOM. They would send me rough edits of the film, and I would write music to them. Luckily, it’s not a big sci-fi action flick or the like, so I didn’t need to write the music for specific effects or visual cues. I could write almost complete pieces, and those were just inserted in the movie.” – Jim Rhinehart

“The music was new to the majority of the BSSO since most did not play on the recording session last May and we have a good number of freshman, many of whom are not accustomed to performing so soon in the school year. The project of providing a live movie soundtrack was also new to the BSSO. While we used a click track (metronome to keep the music aligned with the documentary), only the conductor, pianist, and drummer had earphones, so this was a great (early in the year) exercise in watching and listening!  Our experience was rewarding as we were able to directly contribute to Ball State’s Centennial Celebration.” – Douglas Droste