SO Concert Society cancels 2020-21 season

The executive of the South Okanagan Concert Society met June 15th and is sad to announce that the concert season for 2020/2021 is cancelled as a result of the COVID19 pandemic. A variety of conditions forced this decision.

First, musicians already booked to come from Quebec and points East simply cannot know whether travel will be possible or not. Their concerts in B.C. are only financially viable with pre-arranged tours because of the high expense involved in travel. The uncertainty has led agents to reluctantly propose postponing for the following season.

The SOCS executive looked at the possibility of trying to book only B.C. musicians. A number of considerations, should this be possible, still stood in the way. The small numbers allowed to gather for performances providing sufficient distancing make it impossible to cover the costs. “We are not prepared to sacrifice the quality of our performances,” said SOCS President Janet Marcotte (pictured onstage at right). That would likely happen if much reduced artist fees had to be part of the budget requirements.

Other considerations also came into play. With only a small number spread throughout the concert hall it would greatly affect the atmosphere of those who did attend. The regular patrons love the strong sense of community, the meeting with friends, the conviviality around the concerts and not just the performance. Providing this atmosphere has been a big part of the SOCS mission and success.

The possibility of doing 2 concerts in one evening to bring more regular patrons in and also increase income would involve a huge amount of fast cleaning between concerts by extra paid staff, no receptions and no mingling with friends in the lobby.

Live streaming was also considered as a possible solution. Again, the executive spoke to the needs of our patrons. Most are passionate for top quality LIVE music and many are of an age where live streaming has little appeal. The age factor also means our patrons are particularly vulnerable to the virus.

Although the Venables Theatre staff have literally bent over backwards to try and accommodate the SOCS needs and their efforts are much appreciated, the SOCS executive reluctantly decided to cancel the concert season. As Covid19 conditions change, all efforts will go into planning for another concert season in the future and a possible lone concert or two in the new year.

The AGM of the South Okanagan Concert Society will take place at 10:30 am Wednesday, July 8th, at Venables Theatre. All members welcome.

Submitted by Marion Boyd