Hearing the impact of Share in the Future

Some one recently said to me that the SSO is “punching above its weight class”.  It has been a wonderful season and the last few events have not only been incredible concerts but show exactly how important Share in the Future was.

For many Share in the Future was the tangible reality of being debt free – for the SSO, truly Share in the Future was about so much more than that.

This season has allowed the SSO to boldly make some big artistic statements.  Making music that speaks loudly to the wider audience.  Creating meaningful concerts that are more than just a concert.

At the beginning of this month we launched a brand new experimental concert series called After Dark.  With only a few days notice, music lovers came out of the wood work and we sold out both performances – our Core musicians played some incredible new music, and we transformed our dull old rehearsal studio on 20th Street into a hopping night club, complete with musician led pub trivia.

On Valentines Day we brought back the Chamber Orchestra for the first time in years.  The smaller version of a full sized orchestra allows the SSO to program highly detailed and expressive Baroque repertoire that Saskatoon and this entire region is dying to hear.  Many would consider it a success because we had a big crowd, who clearly loved what they were hearing, on the Sunday of a long weekend.  But for me, the bench mark of success was hearing our SSO musicians perform beautiful Baroque music as it was supposed to be played.  It felt light and buoyant, it danced.  Exactly like Baroque music should.  Our SSO Chorus added an extra level of artistry to the whole experience.  It will not soon be forgotten by those who were there!

And I am, and likely you are too, still speechless and still in a state of awe from the experience that was Tanya Tagaq’s ground breaking performance with the SSO.  Whether you were moved, or scared, or inspired, I am certain that the performance made you feel something very deeply.  Nothing else needs to be said.

Next weekend will be the same level of emotional intensity with Jan Lisiecki – I might even go as far as to say that it has been decades since the SSO played with an artist of this depth and caliber.   I’ve heard him play Beethoven Concerto 4 three times, and I am certain that this will be one of those nights that people talk about for years to come as a highlight of music making in Saskatoon.  Besides that we get to take him to perform in La Ronge, a once in a lifetime event!

Share in the Future did this.  Having a conductor who calls Saskatoon home and who believes in the artistry of his musicians and sets the bar high, that is because of Share in the Future.  Share in the Future allows the staff to work towards new programming and new outreach opportunities for next season.  It allows Eric and I to take a step back from programming and look years ahead to musical ideas that we want to bring to life for our audience.  It has allowed the SSO as an organization to begin to talk about what turning 100 will look like.

Share in the Future allowed all of you to feel part of the big picture too.  It wasn’t just the SSO that achieved this amazing thing, it was people who care about their orchestra.  And that speaks volumes.

I’m a pretty big music geek, and a few years ago I was thinking that I might have to move because Saskatchewan, wasn’t offering me the musical experiences I needed to feel that I was enjoying living here.  Now I am proud to tell people across this country that what we Saskatoon is in a renaissance – we are the lucky few who are seeing an orchestra rise from the ashes to not only make great music but tackle social dialogues, build new musical partnerships, reach out to perform for people who wouldn’t have the chance to see anything like this if it weren’t for the SSO.

We needed Share in the Future, and its transformation, but it should be just the beginning.  $100 is really easy to give, even when times are tough.  And each of those $100 allowed us to take major leaps forward.  Its now time for the SSO to have an annual spring giving campaign because both Eric and I have some big plans.

We see a future where we get to have more concerts so that our audience can enjoy more and our musicians get more work.  Where we get our musicians performing more for students and seniors and the people in our society who most need music.  A future where our musicians truly get to make some great musical moments on stage alongside real artists who aren’t just good at playing their instrument, but who really have something to say.  Where the SSO connects visiting musicians with the public and students to learn more and expand our musical horizons.  We want to create unique musical opportunities that connect us with other art forms and build partnerships that not only enrich what we do but enhances our music community.

This is what a community can do.  It can create one heck of a good orchestra.  And it can have a lot of fun doing it.  Let’s see what weight class we’ll be punching in next year…want to help?

See you at the symphony,
Mark Turner
Executive Director

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