Symphony Builds Community Connections

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Thanks to funding from 2010 Legacies Now, the PGSO was able to work in partnership with non-traditional music venues and local artists to launch a classical-music concert series for children, with a long-term view of building future audiences. More than 1,500 people from the Prince George area attended three, free concerts in the 2008-09 season.

The success of the family series provided a springboard for the PGSO to perform in the community in new ways, including future plans to produce four free concerts at the Prince George Public Library. This direct outreach will allow music lovers of all types to have a closer relationship with the talented musicians of the PGSO.

"These events have given children and their families in Prince George, and the surrounding areas, a rare and exciting opportunity to experience the PGSO in relaxed and inviting settings," said PGSO general manager Elizabeth Aman-Hume.

The first family-series concert was a hands-on affair. Held in November 2008 at the Exploration Place Museum and Science Centre, attendees were given access to museum exhibits and children toured a musical instrument area called the "instrument petting zoo." Kids learned about instrumental sounds and had one-on-one demonstrations of the flute, oboe, bassoon and many others.

The final show, Carnival for Families, wrapped up last April, featuring a condensed version of Camille Saint-Saëns's Carnival of the Animals.

"Young people identified with the animals portrayed, and grownups appreciated the humour and sophistication written into the music," said Aman-Hume.

The family series was funded by 2010 Legacies Now's Catalyst program, with support from the Province of British Columbia. Catalyst invests in projects by B.C. arts, culture and heritage organizations that strengthen their artistic, administrative and organizational skills.

Catalyst invests in BC arts, cultural and heritage organizations wishing to enhance their artistic, administrative and organizational capacities. The program offers funding to develop audiences and markets, hire consultants, engage mentors, and create partnerships for shared learning opportunities. The program is supported by the Province of British Columbia.