Tis the season

2015 comes to a close and with an incredible Messiah behind us, I’ve had a chance to sit down and take stock of the year.  What a year this has been – we bid a fond farewell to Victor, we paid off all of our debt, we welcomed Eric to the podium, and we had some truly remarkable musical moments.  When I look back at 2015 I hope I remember Marc Bouchkov sitting at the back of the violin section for Sibelius, the thrill of Nathan Berg singing the Faure Requiem, the excitement over Estacio’s Farmers Symphony, and the power we all felt hearing the chorus at Messiah.

I’ve been in my job two years now, and before I joined the SSO I have to admit that I felt that the city didn’t create enough quality musical experiences for me.  I’m a concert junky, and I used to have to do a lot of traveling to find musical outings that satisfied me artistically.  I am really proud to say that we’re getting to the point where each SSO concert presents the music lover in me with something to get shivers about.  In fact, I think everyone in our city should be proud that our orchestra is now bringing world class performances to the stage.

This year was also remarkable as it is no small feat to celebrate an 85th anniversary and pay off your debt all at the same time!  We literally could not have done it without the support of our donors – whether you have been giving all your life or were a first time donor, please know that your gift enabled the SSO to experience transformative change this year.  And I hope that you feel that you got out more than what you put in.

On top of some last minute Christmas gifts, this week I’ll be making a donation to the SSO.  I donated to the campaign, and at other times of the year, but as a supporter of live classical music in my community it’s as important that I donate at Christmas.  And I hope you’ll join me.

It is important to understand the power of donation to the SSO – while we have paid off our debts, we still need donations to maintain our programming.  At the 85th anniversary gala I said that I hoped that 2015 would not be the high-point for the SSO.  To maintain operations we constantly need donations and new revenues.  It is not because we’re greedy; it is because what we do requires a certain amount of infrastructure and resources, and to keep ticket prices low we need to fund raise.

When I first started working in arts management, I found it very difficult to ask for money – but I enjoyed giving money.  I enjoyed giving to organization’s whose purpose and mandate I really believed in.  And as a donor I understood that one gift was never enough.  If I really believed in an organization I needed to support them.  I now find it very easy to ask for support – because I truly believe in the cause that I’m asking for.

I believe that it is essential that we create work for the city’s musicians, and that it should be work that challenges them and grows their skills.  I believe that we should be an incubator of Saskatchewan artists, giving them a chance to find their prairie voice.  I believe that it is important that we go to perform at seniors centres and schools even though it costs us money – it is how we pay back some dividends.  I believe that we have a duty to not only offer concerts but to ensure that we are striving to set the new artistic standard for the city.  And I firmly believe that we have a roll to play within our music community through partnerships, relationships, and resources.

So join me in making a donation to the SSO this Christmas – you get a tax receipt and the knowledge that you’re playing a part in something pretty special that’s happening with music in Saskatoon right now.  Trust me, every gift helps.

On behalf of the musicians, staff, board of directors, and Eric, I’d like to wish all of our supporters a wonderful holiday season and I look forward to seeing you at the symphony in 2016!

Mark Turner
Executive Director

To make a donation visit: http://saskatoonsymphony.org/support-the-sso/donate/

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