Since 1950, we have led the effort to make sure the Redlands Bowl Summer Music Festival is funded so music can be accessible to everyone.

 

A VISIONARY

 Grace Stewart Mullen

Grace Stewart Mullen

The Redlands Bowl Summer Music Festival was founded by Grace Stewart Mullen, whose vision was that “music is for everyone” and should be accessible to all regardless of their ability to pay admission. In 1923 she founded the Redlands Community Music Association (RCMA), and in 1924 her dream was realized with the organization of the first season, starting with a community sing held at the bandstand in Smiley Park (located approximately where the Lincoln Shrine now stands). The programs were an enormous success with the audiences, but little money was available to fund the effort. For the first few years, Grace Mullen crisscrossed the streets of Redlands on foot asking for donations. Any bills that could not be paid by donations became the personal responsibility of Grace and her husband George Emmett Mullen.

In 1967, at the age of 90, Grace Stewart Mullen died, leaving our community with a legacy that has continued to the present. 


The Redlands Bowl Summer Music Festival holds the distinction of being the oldest continuously operated music festival in the United States at which no admission is charged.

THE PROSELLIS

In 1930, Clarence and Florence White donated the prosellis structure as “a thankful offering for all who have made Redlands a good place to live in.” Architect Herbert Powell was a graduate of Redlands High School and a 1920 graduate of the University of Redlands who later received his master’s degree at Harvard. Upon his return to Southern California, his first building project was the chapel on the University of Redlands campus. Today the Redlands Bowl Prosellis is part of a city-owned park and also serves as the graduation site for the Redlands high schools. The word “prosellis” is actually a locally coined term for this structure specifically, translated as “before the seats.” The inscription above the prosellis, “Without Vision, a People Perish,” is from the 29th Chapter of Proverbs, Verse 18.

Mullen’s dream of bringing professional quality, classically oriented performing arts to her community has been carried on in today’s Redlands Bowl Summer Music Festival, held from June through August each year and still free to the public. The Redlands Bowl Summer Music Festival holds the distinction of being the oldest continuously operated music festival in the United States at which no admission is charged. Top quality performers are paid from the free-will offerings of the audience and by donations from community groups and individuals. Approximately one third of the RCMA’s annual budget is supported by contributions from Associates of the Redlands Bowl fundraising efforts each year. Since its inception in 1923, an estimated four million people have attended an evening of entertainment under the stars at the Redlands Bowl. 


FLORENCE BEELER

 Florence Beeler

Florence Beeler

Florence Beeler was an embodiment of the talent, vision, and zeal of Grace Stewart Mullen and Caroline S. Pike. She was Vice President of the Redlands Community Music Association and played an active role on the Board. She was a charter member of the Associates of the Redlands Bowl. She served as an active member in our organization from its inception in 1950 until 2003.

She was an inspiration and guiding light...our mentor. Her untiring, unselfish dedication to the Summer Music Festival and to our membership is beyond comparison. As an impresario with the exceptional ability to recognize and promote new talent on the Redlands Bowl stage and elsewhere, Mrs. Beeler elevated the Summer Music Festival to national and international recognition.

At age 92, Mrs. Beeler welcomed, as usual, the new provisional members to the Associates of the Redlands Bowl. She told them about some of the interesting historical events of the Bowl Associates. A month later in 2003, Mrs. Beeler passed away. She was a grand lady who inspired us all. 

What We've Achieved

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