Lack of volunteers could silence the Sidney Classical Orchestra – Victoria News
A shortage of volunteers can force a local classical orchestra to cease future performances.
The Sidney Classical Orchestra (SCO) has already canceled one of its four shows scheduled for the 2019-20 season and may cancel additional shows if they cannot find volunteers to fill various administrative functions.
The SCO has been performing for 26 years, playing classical pieces by Beethoven, Bach and others. Depending on availability, the orchestra has up to 20 musicians paid at the union rate.
“For this year we should be able to do two concerts, one of them being the Young Soloists concert,” said Ian Reid, SCO board member in an interview with the News from the peninsula Review. “If we’re quick, maybe we could do a third. “
The orchestra could end up canceling up to half of its regular performances, a development that would limit the cultural offer in the community and deprive musicians of opportunities to develop their respective careers, as the SCO often serves as a springboard.
Within this framework, the SCO presents each year a show featuring young soloists from the region. Many students go on to study at the best music schools in North America and pursue professional careers locally and elsewhere, such as Nicki Chooi who became concertmaster of the Metropolitan Opera in New York.
“We are pretty much the only classical concert company in Sydney and the Peninsula,” he said. “There are groups, there are concerts, but it’s also popular stuff, more modern. So we will have lost this classical music. And that would be a loss for young musicians who want to make a career out of it. “
Reid said the COS decided to cancel their first show of the 2019-20 season following the company’s annual general meeting in late October, a point he made earlier in an email to supporters who described the need for volunteers as “urgent”.
“We always have an excellent artistic director [Stephen Brown] and volunteer musicians, ”he said. “You are now being asked to save the remaining concert season by volunteering your time and talent to fill administrative positions. “
Brown is a published composer who has taught at the Victoria Conservatory of Music. A partner of the Canadian Music Center, Brown has had his works performed by the symphony orchestras of Toronto, Vancouver and Victoria. He also takes care of administrative duties, but his current songwriting job has overwhelmed him, Reid said.
Reid later said the orchestra was virtually at a standstill on the list of vacancies the company needs to fill. “We need a treasurer, we need a fundraiser, we need community relations and maybe another [volunteer]Said Reid. “And before the end of the season, we need a president.”
So why is the company struggling to fill these positions?
“People are so busy and a lot of them don’t want to get involved,” he said. “In my opinion, we need younger blood – someone who is just retired, someone in their late 50s, early 60s, couples, would be just great.”
The orchestra is also facing financial problems. Minutes from the company’s AGM show private donations and audience numbers were down, while fees for musicians were up.
The company’s balance sheet shows just under $ 2,000, which, in Brown’s words, was “not enough to feature a concert season.”
Overall, the financial statements ending June 30, 2019 show that expenses exceeded revenues by almost $ 3,000, with the main reason being the loss of a Capital Regional District grant of $ 6,000, according to the documents. The North Saanich grants ($ 500) and an increase in the Sidney grant to $ 1,500 helped to partially offset this loss. That said, the company received a performing grant worth $ 6,000 to organize its concert for young soloists.
Reid said the COS’s call for volunteers has yielded some results, and with all of his current problems, Reid still sees the orchestra in five years.
“We will take it forward,” he said. “And Stephen feels it’s about to start.”
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