These are difficult times for those of us who rely on live musical events for our fall and winter entertainment. While it’s exciting to have wonderful performances available online as well as in in our collections of recordings, we all recognize it’s just not the same.
At Chamber Music Kelowna, we are now resigned to cancelling all of our planned 2020-21 season. We are offering the performing groups we had already contracted when the pandemic hit the opportunity to reschedule their Kelowna appearances and are pleased to report good progress with this plan. We hope to have a complete 2021-22 season schedule of 5 exciting concerts at the RCA to announce to you early in 2021. At this point, we’re not sure when it will be possible to offer the season for sale, but please rest assured that the 250 subscribers to the 2019-20 season will be protected with a right to subscribe to their previous seats – or to request a change in seating if they prefer.
As you can imagine, for this plan to work, we have to be able to invite at least 250 people into the Mary Irwin Theatre. We are not considering moving our main subscription series events because the MIT is so popular with our audiences who value its intimate feeling and pleasant vibe.
We have recently completed a planning exercise, with special funding from the City of Kelowna, aimed in part at identifying worthwhile additional activities our Society can undertake to advance our charitable purpose even when we are not on stage at the RCA.
One of the improvements we will achieve through this redesign is an on-line donation capacity through Canada Helps. Of course, we will also still warmly welcome your support by means of a good old-fashioned cheque!
We have already announced in April our plan for the CMK Arnold Draper Award intended to assist aspiring young professional musicians at the most challenging time in their career – when they are just getting started. The Board of Directors has recently voted to contribute $10,000 in matching funds from our Members’ Surplus for this purpose and we trust our members will consider this a good use of some of the capital they have generously contributed in one way or another over the last year. Stay tuned for more details.
To address the desire to gather for live performances again, we are working on an idea for a short series of outdoor concerts in Spring 2021. These programs will feature local musicians who, as you probably know, have few opportunities to earn income from practising their musical skills these days. We hope this series will prove viable even if a vaccine against Covid-19 is not yet widely available but, of course, we will follow all directives from the BC Health Officer, Dr. Bonnie Henry to ensure a safe musical experience for our patrons.
We are extremely grateful for the continuing support of Canadian Heritage, the Province of British Columbia (through Community Gaming Grants), the City of Kelowna and the Central Okanagan Foundation. None of these agencies has reduced funding to CMK due to the pandemic.
Organizations like ours are built over many years on the contributions – of both money and skills – of hundreds of volunteers. With the help of our regular funders and your support, we can preserve CMK as a vital part of the musical life of our region and this gives us confidence that we can come through this challenging time in good shape.
President, Chamber Music Kelowna Society 2020-2021