The SSO is spending this year Reimagining the Possibilities as we adjust our celebratory 90th season to embrace the change.
We have been working closely with Saskatchewan Public Health and have prepared for a newly planned season ahead. We’ll have a smaller orchestra size to accommodate the social distancing safety protocols, a limited capacity for in-person audience, and we’re launching a Digital Concert Stream where our concerts will be available live and on demand.
Safety has been our primary concern, so there are lots of changes ahead to ensure the safety of our musicians and audience. See FAQ below.
Things aren’t going to be “concerts-as-usual” and pulling this all together has been incredibly challenging, but also incredibly exciting – the SSO has a mandate to make music for as many people as we can, and this re-imagined season allows us to present concerts that we can’t wait to share with you.
Since none of us are going on exotic vacations this year, the SSO is bringing you a year of musical adventure.
Stroll the streets of Paris, drink beer at Oktoberfest, tango in Buenos Aires,
spend a night at the Carnival of Venice – its going to be different but
We’re not announcing our plans for the whole year but rather one or two musical trips at a time, and each concert will have all sorts of online adventures to enjoy (think cooking lessons from an Italian chef, or a wine tasting class!).
We know everyone will have a lot of questions and over the next few weeks we’ll be giving out as much information as possible to make sure everyone feels safe and ready for some musical adventure. From reimagined concerts, new fundraising initiatives, and much more, we’ve got a busy few weeks ahead. Thank you so much for supporting us all through this incredibly unique celebration of 90 years of SSO.
The SSO has made a name for itself as an organization that thinks outside the box, so right from day one we’ve been exploring how we can safely make music again. It’s going to be a challenging year, but one filled with unique opportunities and a chance to make special memories. To reimagine is to re-create – let’s go where the music takes us!
-Mark Turner, Executive Director
Are you cancelling your season?
No! While we aren’t able to have the season as planned we are being creative and reimagining what our 90th season looks like.
To ensure the safety of everyone involved, for now our reimagined concerts will be 60 minutes without an intermission.
What do you mean by reimagining the season?
We’re embracing the change.
We are finding new ways to bring as many people our concerts while following, and going above and beyond, the current safety guidelines. We have put together a series of concerts that explores incredible music with a smaller cohort of musicians for an in person and online audience.
Our new season plan allows us to have flexibility as the guidelines are updated and we are excited to bring you music we aren’t usually able to perform!
Will I be able to attend concerts in person?
Yes, and no.
Because we are limited to a 150 audience size we’re exploring the potential of repeat performances to accommodate as many as possible.
These in person tickets will be made available to subscribers first.
There may be a limited number of tickets available for purchase but that will vary by concert.
How can I watch the Saskatoon Symphony if you are limiting the in person audience?
We are going digital! Our concerts can now be viewed from wherever you are. There will be a live stream of the concert on the day of and then an option to see the concert whenever and as many times you like with video/symphony on demand available through the SSO Stream.
When will the concerts be?
You can find the full calendar of events by clicking here
Where will the concerts take place?
We’ll be hosting our concerts at St John’s Cathedral on Spadina until such time we can return to larger gatherings. One of Saskatoon’s most iconic buildings, St John’s sits atop the banks of the South Saskatchewan, and has ample space for us to space a slightly smaller orchestra – we’re grateful they’ve welcomed us in to their home!
We are going to try something completely different this year – you’ll know the dates well in advance of a concert, but to allow us to create a truly unique travel adventure, you won’t find out where the musical trip is going until about a month ahead of time.
This allows us to grow or shrink in response to the current safety guidelines, and ensure that we’re always adapting and adjusting to keep everyone safe.
We’re going on a musical staycation. While we aren’t able to have any getaways any time soon, we hope you enjoy our exploration of sounds around the globe right here from Saskatoon.
How do you plan on addressing the pandemic risks?
We’ve been working very closely with Saskatchewan Public Health and research taking place in our industry. The good news is that orchestras around the globe have been slowly and safely reopening, and we get to use what they’ve learned to build our concerts.
To ensure the musicians are safe we’re putting in brand new protocols, including:
- a minimum 2M distance between each player, and larger distances for some instruments
- masks will be worn, excluding when a wind or brass player is using their instrument
- UV and 0.3 micron filtration systems placed throughout the orchestra
- careful and thorough cleaning procedures before, during, and after performances
This means that concerts will feature a chamber orchestra, 15-30 players. The repertoire includes everything from Bach to Tchaikovsky to Debussy and new music!
For the Audience – the precautions that we’ll use include:
- self-assessment questions ahead of attending an event
- we ask everyone to wear masks
- enter through one side of the hall, exit out the other
- seated socially distant so that everyone is 2M apart from others “outside their bubble”
- hand sanitation stations throughout the space
- no intermission – 60 minute concerts – so please plan for no public bathroom use unless its an emergency
- no food or beverage sales at the venue
Anyone who has in person tickets for a performance will receive an email early in the week ahead of the concert to ensure they are fully informed on the safety requirements we’ll have for our audience.
Over the last few months, the staff at the SSO have been heavily involved in the international dialogue about the safe practice of music. We’ll be releasing our full protocols later in August so that everyone has a chance to see the level of detail and effort being made to ensure a safe reopening to rehearsals and concerts.
We’re thrilled to be launching a Digital Concert Stream. With this you’ll be able to watch our concerts live online and enjoy them again with Video On Demand. The concerts are all being filmed in 4K resolution, and we’ve been lucky to work with some of the best, most creative technicians to bring this Digital Concert Stream to life.
Our Digital Concert Stream will allow anyone with internet to watch the SSO through our own website. You can pay-per-view or buy a subscription for the year for just $95. We’re going to be able to reach more people than ever before, and connect to music lovers across our province and beyond!
More news about the Digital Concert Stream will be released in August.
We have heard from so many of our patrons that they want to help bring some celebration to this unusual 90th anniversary.
This fall we’ll be launching a new fundraising campaign that will help the SSO face the challenge and continue showcasing the important role music plays in all our lives.
We’ll announce the new fundraising campaign in early September 2020.
We’ll be in touch with all subscribers over the next few weeks – that’s going to be over 400 calls and emails, so we really appreciate your patience.
All subscriber TCU Place seats will be held – if you’re already a subscriber, we’ll keep your seats so that when we return to having a full audience, you’ll still have your seats.
I have already subscribed to the SSO, what happens now?
Thank you so much for supporting the SSO! You will have first right of refusal to in person tickets and full access to our SSO Stream. We will be in touch to discuss the details.
I was waiting to renew my subscription, what happens now?
If you were a subscriber for our 89th season and have not yet renewed we will be in touch regarding the updated subscription plan. We hope you will continue to support your orchestra and join us on this incredible journey.
I would like to subscribe, what do I do now?
Send us an email (firstname.lastname@example.org) with your preferred method of contact and we will be in touch!
The staff of the SSO are all still working from home, so re-planning, rebuilding, and reconstructing our season and subscriptions has been no small undertaking – we appreciate everyone’s support and patience! We have the best supporters in the world and we’re so grateful to be able to keep the music coming for you this year.