Rebecca Dale

Saturday, March 7th will feature a North American premiere of Rebecca Dale’s reflective Materna Requiem. If you’re thinking that you don’t know the music of Rebecca Dale, we’re telling you this is a must hear!

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Rebecca Dale is a British composer of screen and concert musicBorn in 1985, Rebecca started composing from a very young age, completing her first full musical at age 10 and piano concerto at 15. After school music scholarships, she studied at Oxford University (New College) and the National Film and Television School, and holds an MA with distinction in Composing for Film & Television. Her 2015 debut self-release for choir and orchestra, I’ll Sing, rose up the classical charts and was Classic FMChoral Classic of the Week. Her next release, Soay, spent five weeks at Classical No.1 and was named Classic FM 2016 album of the year. In 2017, Dale won a coveted place on the Sundance Composer Lab.

Check out this recording of Soay released in January 2019!

Most recently her track ‘Winter’, commissioned by bestselling vocal group Voces8 for their album of the same name, was described by Gramophone magazine as a “masterpiece”. A follow up album is due for release this year. Dale also recently composed original music for the BBC Christmas drama series, Little Women.

Dale has been involved in projects for 20th Century FoxDisneyWorking TitleThe Weinstein Co. and the BBC, and her score for Crossing The Line was nominated for best original music in feature film at the 2017 international Music & Sound Awards. She has recorded and conducted orchestral works at Abbey Road, Air Studios, George Lucas’s Skywalker Ranch and Fox Studios, Hollywood. Dale’s Full length albumRequiemwas released by Decca Classics in August 2018.

Hailed by Classic FM as “one of today’s most exciting young composers” and “a household name in years to come”, Rebecca Dale made history when in 2018 she became the first female composer to sign to Universal Music’s Decca Classics label, and the first woman to sign to Decca Publishing. In September her debut album recorded with the Royal Liverpool PhilharmonicRequiem For My Mother, smashed into the UK album charts at No.1 in the specialist Classical charts.

Here is a sneak peak of Materna Requiem – the Pie Jesu. The intention of this movement is to capture the feeling of a father singing to their newborn.

Originally mentored by Golden Globe-nominated Alex Heffes (“Last King of Scottland”) and Emmy-nominated Maurizio Malagnini (“Call the Midwife”), Rebecca has worked on films like Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom, director Stephen Frears’ The Program, action film The Take starring Idris Elba, BBC period drama series The Paradise and The Secret Agent, famous US Miniseries remake Roots, Touching the Void Live and BBC’s Frozen Planet Live and Disney’s Queen of Katwe directed by Mira Nair.  She was a judge for Northern Ireland’s inaugural Royal Television Society Programme Awards, is a Berlinale Talents alumna and BAFTA Crew participant, and has been a regular interview guest on BBC Radio 3.

As a concert composer Rebecca has written for numerous classical artists and ensembles including Mari & Hakon Samuelson, the London Mozart Players, the Scottish Festival Orchestra, the Latvian Opera Orchestra, musicians of the London Symphony Orchestra, percussionst Joby Burgess and cellists Richard Harwood, Benjamin Hughes and Oliver Coates. She is a fellow of the prestigious MacDowell Colony in New Hampshire (notable composer alumni include Leonard Bernstein and Aaron Copland), and has been an associate composer with the London Symphony Orchestra on its Soundhub programme. She also directs and writes extensively for choral groups, was commissioned by Canterbury Cathedral Girls Choir for their debut album, and was 2017-18 Composer in Residence for the London Oriana Choir as part of its five15 project. I’ll Sing was performed at Cadogan Hall with ensemble and orchestra from the London opera houses, as part of the charity concert for Grenfell Tower.

She plays the violin and piano, and likes odd socks.

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Materna Requiem – Subscriber Perks

We’ve got some great perks for our Subscribers!

We are so excited about our concert on March 7th, Materna Requiem. This will be a North American premiere of Rebecca Dale‘s masterpiece, and we want all of our subscribers to be able to experience it in an even more intimate way – by attending a rehearsal at no extra charge! Here you will be able to witness the program before the evening’s performance, offering an opportunity to immerse yourself deeper in the work. Maestro Eric Paetkau will work the orchestra, guest soloists Spencer McKnight and Chelsea Mahan, and the Greystone Singers and Aurora Voce choirs to ensure everyone has a unified vision.

The dress rehearsal on Saturday, March 7th (starting strictly at 1:00pm), will be open to all subscribers to watch upon registering. To take advantage of this unique experience, you must register by February 28th with Matthew via email at, or by calling the office Monday-Friday 10:00am-3:00pm at (306) 665-6414 – please inquire for more information.

And how about something special for our ambitious concertgoers – we are implementing our “Inside the Sound” subscriber perk, where a small handful of people can sit scattered amongst the orchestra during a preliminary evening rehearsal (Thursday, March 5th or Friday, March 6th). Here you will be able to see an in-depth look at the rehearsal process, from the musicians perspective! The specific date will be decided once we can poll those who have requested to be a part of this – please don’t shy away! Email Matthew at or call the SSO office (306) 665-6414 to find out more information and secure one of the few spots!

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Materna Requiem

What does “In Concert Live to Film” mean anyways?

As we get closer to our performance of Disney’s The Little Mermaid In Concert Live to Film we are getting a lot of questions about what that actually means. While this is a first for us there are several orchestras in North America, and really all over the world, who have a whole variety of these shows. The National Arts Centre Orchestra has Mary Poppins In Concert Live to Film in February, the Vancouver Symphony is presenting one of the Harry Potter films, several orchestras show Home Alone over Christmas, and there are several other In Concert Live to Film options from Disney available at any time if you are willing to do some travel.

But what does it mean? What is the actual concert experience? Here are some answers to your In Concert Live to Film Frequently Asked Questions (or ICLFFAQ for short).


Is it the full Little Mermaid film we all know and love?

Yes! The whole movie will be playing above the orchestra on a large screen. Here’s a mock-up so you know what it will look like.

Is there an intermission?

We will have an intermission at the halfway mark. Snack breaks are important.

Whose voices will we hear?

All the dialogue and singing is from the original film, so you can think of it as reverse karaoke! You will hear the 1989 cast of Jodi Benson as Ariel, Christopher Daniel Barnes as Prince Eric, René Auberjonois as Chef Louis (we see you Deep Space Nine fans), and all the other iconic voices you know and love being accompanied by your Saskatoon Symphony Orchestra.









We know Sebastian. It’s amazing what you can do these days!

How will the SSO match the movie playing above them?

Music Director Eric Paetkau will be leading the charge. Eric will have a click track, essentially a metronome, in his ear that is synched with the film, and there will be a special version of the film on a laptop next to him so he can keep all the cues in time. It’s the same set up we’ve had for other concerts with film so Eric is a pro!

Have any other questions about what to expect at The Little Mermaid In Concert Live to Film? Let us know!

There are a handful of tickets left for this show so make sure you stop by the TCU Place box office before they sell out!

SSO Top 5 Stocking Stuffers!

Whether you know someone that goes our shows regularly or has yet to experience what we have to offer, tickets to the SSO are a great way to brighten your Christmas gift giving! And though the season has already begun, there are still many concerts not even listed in this top 5 that are waiting to be discovered.

5. Mozart’s Flute

– A great finale to our mini-Mozart week

Saturday, April 4, 2020

Leading up to the concert, there will be several other Mozart-themed shows that will take you on a journey through the mix of Mozart’s compositions.

Naomi Ford will be our guest that evening for the Flute Concerto No. 1. At the age of 16, she was the Grand Awards winner at the National Music Festival of Canada in 2017, and more recently named an Award of Excellence winner with the National Youth Orchestra of Canada in 2019. She is from New Brunswick, and is currently studying at the Curtis Institute in Philadelphia with Jeffrey Khaner. It will be a night to remember!

Mozart’s Flute Concerto

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4. Accent with the SSO

– vocal jazz with orchestra

Saturday, March 21, 2020

They may not be joining us for Christmas, but Danny Fong and Andrew Kesler will be coming home for this performance. They with their 4 colleagues form the vocal jazz group ACCENT.

Accent with the SSO

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3. Rebecca Dale’s Materna Requiem

– North American Premier of a UK work!

Saturday, March 7, 2020

Rebecca Dale is the first female composer ever to signed with Universal Music’s Decca Classics label and Decca Publishing – and that was only last year! Her masterwork, Materna Requiem, is absolutely stunning. You do not want to miss the opportunity to see this!

This performance will include soloists Chelsea Mahan and Spencer McKnight, and SSO will be joined by the University of Saskatchewan Greystone Singers.

Materna Requiem

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2. Gift Certificates

– never expires!

We get it – people are busy, schedules change, life can be hectic. That’s why we have the gift certificate option!

Put any dollar amount on the card, and we guarantee that it will never expire until every cent is used up. That way, whoever you give it to can pick the concert that best fits them!

Call – (306) 665-6414

Visit the office – 602B 51st Street – Monday-Friday – 10:00am-3:00pm

1. Disney’s “The Little Mermaid”

– Watch the movie with LIVE MUSIC

Saturday, January 25, 2020

How could you pass up the chance to relive the music of this classic Disney film? Answer – you can’t! The evening will delight those well accustomed to the songs, and will capture those hearing them for the first time.

Act fast, because tickets are already selling fast!

The Little Mermaid

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Messiah Artist -Lisa Hornung

Lisa Hornung

Having performed across Western Canada, the United States, and Europe, Lisa is always happy to be close to home with the Saskatoon Symphony Orchestra. And so are we! Lisa has long been a favourite of SSO audiences for her emotionally deep performances of Messiah.

She has been acclaimed for performances in repertoire ranging from Baroque to contemporary composers; her voice has been called rich and powerful and her stage presence has inspired audiences and musicians alike.

After completing a Bachelor of Music in Voice Performance at the University of Saskatchewan (Professor Dorothy Howard), Lisa went on to further her studies at the Institute of Vocal Arts in Chiari, Italy. This was followed by an intensive study time at Southern Illinois University (Mr. Richard Best). Later she completed a year of study, with the support of the Saskatchewan Arts Board, working with Mr. Nico Castel, Dr. Everett McCorvey, Dr. Cliff Jackson, Dr. Bill Cooper, Professor Micheal McMahon, Professor Tedrin Lindsey, and Mr. Richard Best.

Lisa believes that every child deserves the opportunity to sing, and runs a non-audition Community Youth Choir that provides this place. For several years she directed the Meota Men’s Choir, a non-audition men’s choir that was very active in the Battlefords and surrounding area. Lisa has gained a deeper appreciation and love of choral arts through her continued work as vocal coach for Cantilon and Belle Canto, professional touring choirs based in Edmonton, Alberta, under the direction Heather Johnson.

Lisa is the founder and director of Summer School for the Solo Voice, a week long study and performance opportunity for singers, choral conductors, accompanists and voice teachers of all ages and abilities. Growing from a local to a national, and now, international program, SSSV celebrated its 20th Anniversary in July, 2017.

In October of 2017, Lisa was presented with the Saskatchewan Music Educators Association’s Outstanding Achievement Award. She has also been bestowed as one of the University of Saskatchewan’s Arts and Science Alumni of Influence.

Lisa lives in North Battleford with her husband John.

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A Child’s Christmas in Wales

Part of our exciting celebration on December 7th will be telling of A Child’s Christmas in Wales.

The popular prose of Dylan Thomas‘ recollection of Christmases past were made famous by Caedmon Records in 1952 as being one of the earliest commercial audiobooks, with Thomas’ own voice telling the story. The reminiscent lines were a last minute addition to the LP that opened the general market for audio recorded books. This time it will be Dr. Garry Gable returning to help us bring the tales to life.

Selected excerpts of these childhood stories are further imagined with Gary Fry‘s orchestrations.

Fry’s version was commissioned not as long ago back in 2003 for the Chicago Symphony Orchestra. You will be able to hear the familiar tunes “Good King Wenceslas” and an exuberant Celtic version of “Hark! the Herald Angels Sing” sung by the returning choirs – University Chorus (James Hawn) and University of Saskatchewan Greystone Singers (Dr. Jennifer Lang)!

There may, or may not be some sleigh riding going on later in the concert, too… But you will just have to come to find out!

See you at the Symphony, and Merry Christmas!

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Come join Elly Thorn and Dean McNeill in the Holiday Cheer!

With holiday preparations in full swing, the SSO would love to give you some Christmas cheer on Saturday, December 7th! Our cocnert Christmas with the SSO will feature many guests with the orchestra, including two very special people…

Dean McNeill – trumpet

He should look familiar!

Dean McNeill has been with the Saskatoon Symphony Orchestra for over 20 years, and it is our pleasure feature him in this concert.

Our local trumpet player and composer is a Full Professor at the University of Saskatchewan, directing the University of Saskatchewan Jazz Ensemble, the Saskatoon Jazz Orchestra, and leading the Saskatoon Jazz Society’s Jazz Workshop program. He has received the University of Saskatchewan Department of Music’s Dwaine Nelson Teaching Award for his past administrative service as Department Head in 2004-2009, and a Special Recognition Award from the Saskatchewan Jazz Festival for his contributions to jazz in Saskatchewan. You can hear his stellar playing on the album O Music as soloist with the composition Kalla which won the 2012 Western Canadian Music Award for Classical Composition of the Year.

As a Yamaha artist, Dean has performed as a guest artist with the National Youth Band of Canada, as well as with professional ensembles such as the Winnipeg, Edmonton, Vancouver Jazz Orchestras and the Calgary Creative Arts Ensemble. He has performed alongside the likes of Kenny Wheeler, Pat LaBarbera, Michael Cain, Hugh Fraser, Tom Banks, Brad Turner, Kelly Jefferson, David Braid, Bob Mintzer, Denzal Sinclaire, PJ Perry, Ingrid Jensen, Jon Balantyne, Campbell Ryga and many others.

You can hear more of him on his two albums Prairie Fire: Large Jazz Ensemble Music of Dean McNeill and Mélange: New Music For Trumpet and Piano, and most recently composed repertoire on Complete Rebirth of the Cool.

Elly Thorn – vocalist

Performing artist Elly Thorn was raised in the small Saskatchewan community of Saltcoats. Typical of rural life, Elly took music lessons as a way to fill the long, hot prairie summer and cold winter days that keep you stuck indoors. She began her musical career touring with Saskatchewan Express, as well as the Canadian Heritage Society’s Spirit of a Nation.

Elly studied at the Canadian College of Performing Arts in Victoria, B.C, performed aboard Norwegian Cruise Lines, has acted in TV series like Rabbit Fall and Corner Gas, and appeared in stage adaptations of Evita and Toon Town with Saskatoon’s Persephone Theatre.

With the performance on December 7th as Elly’s debut with the SSO, we will welcome her original compositions and hope to share her excitement with the audience as she lives through this songwriter’s dream. You will even have the opportunity to take home her newest album of Christmas music, releasing the night of the concert!

Spoiler – one of the songs that will be featured that evening will be “There’s a Heaven”, and will be great reminder to cherish all the good family moments that you can:

I wrote is this song almost four years ago, two days after I heard about a young family whose lives were taken in a car accident.  The tragedy shook me to the core because we also had little ones of similar ages.  We were in the midst of putting away Christmas for the year, feeling that excitement and love as the festive season once again comes to a close when I heard the news.  I felt broken and shaky, without even knowing who they were. We are all so connected, even more than we realize – we feel each others pain, energy, joys and brokenness… but we heal together too. I am a great believer that music heals.

Check out this recent tribute of Elly’s to what can often be a very “busy” time of year.

Christmas with the SSO

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Homecoming – The return of SYO and their Featured Alumni

On November 16th, the SSO will see the return of the Saskatoon Youth Orchestra alongside them onstage. It has been nine months since these forces have last joined, playing the Roman Carnival Overture by Hector Berlioz in February. This time, it will be the Slavonic Dances of Antonín Dvořák that will open the evening. There will be more than 60 additional musicians combining with the SSO to bring this music to life.

Within their identity statement, the Saskatoon Youth Orchestra say that they strive to allow its participants to grow as community members and create lifelong friendships. This is clearly realized in our Homecoming concert considering that all three of our guest artists have played in SYO!

William Rowson (our guest conductor) was in the youth orchestra during the last Side-by-Side concert featuring the same Slavonic Dances in January of 1993! He was a member of the SYO violin section throughout the 1990-1993 seasons, starting as one of the youngest members at the time. He vividly remembers walking into the rehearsal room when they were beginning to play a piece he composed himself, being swept up in the soundscape:

Our piccolo player practicing the sleigh ride tune from Prokofiev’s Troika […]  I was very nervous and excited.  I saw everyone looking through my parts that my Mom and I had stayed up all night preparing.   When ever I hear a piccolo play that tune […] I’m instantly brought back to that moment of being so nervous and excited to hear an orchestra play something I had written.

William says he would often bring borrowed scores home to study, so that he was able to better hear all the parts come to life in the group rehearsals each week.

Whether I knew it or not at the time, it was these formative years that really helped shape my life and career.

He was in the SSO’s violin section in the 2001-2002 season, overlapping with Carissa’s time in the orchestra, as well!

On Tuesday, November 12th, William will be at the McNally Music Talk at 7:00pm.

Carissa Klopoushak, like William, has been with us before as a member of SYO (1996-2000), SSO (1998-2006 as our Principle Violin II for the latter 3 seasons), and as a guest artist (in March of 2017). Her fondest memories of her earlier years with the SYO were of the Rosthern retreats, a tour to Langley, and the Banff International Festival of Youth Orchestras (BIFYO) in 1998. She also participated in the Side-by-Side performances during these years, with the first in April of 1996:

My first side-by-side with the SYO and SSO was the most incredible – we played Mahler 1 and it was an absolute life-changing experience for me. I still love that piece so very much and have such fond memories of it.

It is no doubt these experiences helped her see her goal of becoming a professional musician see come closer into her grasp. You will find Carissa playing “like a rockstar” in this upcoming concert in Vivian Fung’s Violin Concerto, as indicated in the score! Following that, she will be leading a masterclass at the University of Saskatchewan for music students and members of the SYO. In the bit of downtime she will get, Carissa hopes to see as much family and friends as possible, getting to places such as Hearth and Museo – but also practicing her orchestra music for NACO’s concert next week!

Ryan Cole, in addition to being in SYO for the 2004-2005 season, was an extra with the SSO in 2009. He was seated beside our Principle trumpet player, Terry Heckman, for the infamous Symphonie fantastique by Hector Berlioz.

I recall trying to read the part while Terry played, and having no idea how he was doing it. I remember trying to stay focused on my part while being amazed at how effortlessly he played such a difficult solo.  This comes to mind because I recently got to perform this exact part for the first time here in Victoria, and I had very vivid flashbacks of this experience sitting beside Terry.

For this upcoming concert, Ryan will be showcased in Marcus Goddard’s Trumpet Concerto, a piece which was specially composed for him. While he is here, Ryan will also be making stops at the University of Saskatchewan for masterclasses, and to give a talk to music students detailing his path to becoming a professional orchestral musician. He will also make a few visits to high schools to a similar presentation to aspiring students. When it comes to food, Ryan is planning to make it to some key places in the city, namely Ayden for a special family supper, Hometown Diner so his expecting wife Kayleigh can have her requested chicken and waffles, and to Alexander’s for some traditional post-performance nachos!

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Saskatchewan’s Laura Pettigrew

The SSO has decided we want to be the change we want to see in orchestral music – so this year we’re highlighting the music of living female composers…in fact, every Masters Series concert has a living female Canadian composer on it!  And we knew we had to feature a Saskatchewan composer to start the whole year off.  You’re going to love Laura’s music!

Laura Pettigrew’s contributions in Canada are well known but her influence and achievement have now expanded to all over the world. Her works have received world premières by Toronto Symphony Orchestra, (Canada) GRAMMY® Award–winning I Solisti Veneti (Italy), Regina Symphony Orchestra (Canada), Massive Brass Attack (Portugal), Nicole Gi Li and Corey Hamm (Piano Erhu Project or PEP), and Foothills Brass (Canada), Borealis Brass (USA) among others, and featured on recordings by national and international soloists and ensembles as well as in the international award-winning short film, The Sky Came Down, Laura Pettigrew is making her mark on the world stage. Her music has been praised as “spectacular, breathtaking, inspirational” (Reel Rave International Film Festival 2013); “sublime with a style reminiscent of the television show Game of Thrones…patrons were drawn in by the composition…simply put it was awesome” (Regina Leader Post); “Bellissimo” (LA9 SAT Television Station, Padua, Italy): “Dòchas enveloped the Roy Thomson Hall, entrancing the audience immediately with a lavish, calming sound” (Broadway World)

She has been the beneficiary of many scholarships and grants from: Saskatchewan Foundation for the Arts Artist Awards, Regina Artist, Saskatchewan Arts Board, Creative Saskatchewan, Canadian Music Centre, Saskatchewan Film Tax Credit, and been honoured with awards for her commitment to the arts, community and philanthropy: Mayor’s Arts and Business Award, Living the Arts ; University of Regina Alumni Crowning Achievement Award – Distinguished Humanitarian and Community Service ; YWCA Women of Distinction, Jacqui Shumiatcher Arts Award, nominated for the Lieutenant Governor’s Award 2013 and included in the newly published international COMPENDIUM MUSICAE FLAUTA, Encyclopedia of Flute Works by Women Composers.

Today, Laura has become a much commissioned, published and performed symphonic, solo, ensemble and choral composer as well as an accomplished teacher and clinician. She received Two commissions for Canada’s 150th celebration in 2017: Manotick Brass Ensemble AND Toronto Symphony Orchestra’s Canada Mosaic Project, Her Sesquie titled “Dòchas” was premiered December 5, 2017 by Toronto Symphony Orchestra and November 25, 2017 by Regina Symphony Orchestra, partner orchestra for Toronto Symphony Orchestra’s Canada Mosaic Project.

Her works include: orchestral, chamber, wind ensemble, vocal/choral, piano, solo instrumental, film score and
orchestral arrangements.

She is an avid supporter of the Adkins Chiti Foundation, Donne in Musica (Women in Music), Associate composer of the Canadian Music Centre,: Member of : Canadian League of Composers, SOCAN and International Women’s Brass Conference promoting and encouraging composers and musicians to ensure equality prevails for women and men alike.

Laura believes we are all born with a gift and driven by her passion she derives great joy sharing her knowledge and talent. Inspired by historical events, people, landscape, mythology and literature it is the emotional melodic expression that resonates throughout her works.

Tying music events into a wide range of philanthropic endeavours she has also become a voice for those enduring difficult times. Growing up grounded in community she understands the intrinsic value of being one part of a sum and states “without community we are but one alone in the world”.

Hear Laura Pettigrew’s Dochas with the SSO on September 21st for Opening Night.

Carnegie Hall’s Link Up with the SSO

Have you ever been to Carnegie Hall?

Many people dream to one day visit the world famous music hall, and now students in Saskatoon have the opportunity to have a close connection with it! The Saskatoon Symphony Orchestra is so excited to announce our new partnership with Carnegie Hall Weill Music Institute with their education initiative Link Up.

Link up is a highly participatory program where grades 3-5 students learn to sing and play the recorder (or another classroom instrument), and perform with the SSO from their seats at the “culminating concert” at TCU Place. All of the teaching resources are open source, and teacher and student manuals are sent straight to the schools.

This year, we are doing the program “The Orchestra Sings” where students will explore timeless classical repertoire such as Ludwig van Beethoven’s “Ode to Joy”, “Simple Gifts” from Aaron Copland’s Appalachian Spring, and the main theme of the “New World” Symphony by Antonín Dvořák.

Over 100 students are already signed up, and we are eager to reach our goal of 1000 students for this year’s program!

Visit  Link Upfor more information!

Forward this on to the teachers you know, and please direct questions to!