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November 2006 - Nr. 11


The Editor
At Lake Huron
German Gala 2006
German Pioneers Day 2006
An Evening in Vienna
KW & Beyond
SOS-Herwig Wandschneider
Bitzer Event 2006
Diaspora Conference
Dick reports...
Sybille reports
Ham Se det jehört?
German Christmas Cookies
Heaven or Hell
TSO November Listings
Christmas at the TSO
Forte in Formal
Despite Kyoto Rift
Eggs Can Be Good
Schumacher's Farewell
Canadian Ski Areas
After the World Cup
FIFA U-20 World Cup
Canadian Holiday Stamps

S.O.S. (Save our Symphony) - (K-W)

by Herwig Wandschneider

Herwig Wandschneider

An emotional campaign slogan, which could have easily been avoided, if some people would have seen the light 3 years ago. Or could it? One thing is for sure, even if the symphony had run seriously over budget then with the visions of conductor Fischer-Dieskau, K-W would have been seen as dynamic and progressive Canada-wide (if not on the world stage), instead of a hick-town bunch of cowboys, who shoot before they think. And no one can tell me that the symphonic fiasco of the last 3 years had no effect on the thinking of people, planners, companies and investors, who considered settling in K-W.

Trouble is, the Symphony’s Board (and particularly those still on it from the previous "teams") still does not seem to acknowledge their responsibility for failing to prevent or repair the fiasco in a timely fashion.

Fact is that Symphony Revenue is down and losses are badly up. Meaning that support from government and arts agencies are down. Subscribers are down. Ticket Sales are down. (eg from 56,000 three years ago to 42,000 last season. Bankruptcy is threatened, if $2.5 Million has not been collected by the end of the month. As per the latest tally at time of this writing $1.63 Million has been pledged (check out the latest tally at ). If these pledges are unconditional, then this season is secure. Another $0.9 Million and the next is secure also. What is not secure is the return to the level of enthusiasm of the concert-going public that clearly existed in the Fischer-Dieskau days, which is needed to bring the Symphony back to profitability. That balloon has been crudely pricked.

Can new pictures on the walls, ambassador programs, lotteries for free home concerts, mingling of musicians with the patrons, prizes and discounts, a 15% cut in salaries (now officially accepted by the musicians), and financial commitments from the Board save the day? It will help, but what will more likely bring back sponsors, lost patrons, bring in new ones and stir up the enthusiasm of the community again is a charismatic Music Director/Conductor with a vision and a drive. Such a person needs active support and dynamism not just from the community, but also from management, the Board, Volunteer- and other committees. Money just is not everything.

Will someone of the Fischer-Dieskau calibre want to come to K-W knowing the recent turmoil and history, and work with symphony management that still has people on the Board, who mishandled situations with one or more visionary conductors in the past? Will such a Board be willing and able to look for challenging people of this caliber? The K-W music community does not wish to lose their symphony, that is clear, but is there enough oomph left after 3 years of tiring meetings and newspaper stories like this, to make the required changes?


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