The Road to a Fresh Start

Invitation - 2014-2015 SSO Season Launch

Mark Turner, SSO Interim General Manager

A season launch can say so much about an orchestra.  Whether you know it or not, the launch is so much more than the announcement of what music you can expect to hear in the upcoming year.

At the SSO, we took the last few months to ask ourselves who are we and what role do we play in our city, province, and beyond.

The Saskatoon Symphony Orchestra is not only a long standing artistic institution in the city, but we are the orchestra for central and northern Saskatchewan—we play to audiences who trudge through cold wind and dust storms, and wear their dress shoes through snow banks and mud puddles. Each and every person in our audience knows the sheer joy of experiencing a quiet sunset and has been dumbfounded by the northern lights. Our audience is proud that it knows what a combine is and what it does. We all know that the Saskatoon Berry is far superior to other lesser berries. We understand the smell of fresh wet dirt, of a field of wheat, and of pig barns. And you don’t have to live on a farm to know these. Our city is filled with all sights, sounds, tastes, and smells of the prairie.

The SSO is not a big city orchestra—and that’s ok. We don’t need to be a big city orchestra. As one of two professional orchestras in Saskatchewan, we have an important role to play. We have to bring an audio identity to our city. Music plays a key role in the authenticity of a city—it is real people, real music, real experiences; it is central to creating real communities. A symphony orchestra is crucial to the identity of a city.

You might not believe me, but it’s true. Sounds, songs, and musical memories are the strongest and easiest to remember—music infects our ears, our minds, our thoughts, it mixes with emotions, and becomes a part of our soul. Each and every one of us has a personal musical soundtrack to our life.

A prairie symphony needs to be a part of that.

Invitation - 2014-2015 SSO Season Launch

A season needs to address all this and more—it must not only be artistically creative, but it has to make sense. It’s no secret that the SSO has a deficit, so it should be no secret that we approached this new season with a very real goal of ensuring that the programming not only is affordable but will have a lasting impact in reducing our deficit. That means that we have to give you a ‘wow’ factor. We have to give you a chance to see true artists take the stage. We have to make sure that at the end of the day we know we have a responsibility to make programming affordable. If we can’t afford to do it, we can’t do it—but it also means we get to truly explore the things we do well.

This season was designed with an intent of financial stability and growing the artistic quality of performance. If you always come to the symphony, you are in for a serious treat. If you haven’t been to the symphony in a while, I challenge you to come back and see what we’re doing. If you have never been to the symphony, turn off Netflix and be social. It is far too easy to stay home than go out. It’s easier to use a cake mix than start from scratch … but we all know which cake is more rewarding, to mention nothing of taste and quality.

A night out at the arts is one of the last true social experiences in our world—come see what the SSO is doing to be relevant, inspiring, passionate, fun, and responsible.

See you at the symphony,