Peterborough Symphony Orchestra staff, board and musicians want to thank the partners, sponsors, audience members, volunteers and guest artists who made Northern Voyage, the PSO’s 50th anniversary gala concert presented by Terry Windrem, such a success.
Northern Voyage, featuring violinist Elizabeth Pitcairn and her famous 1720 Red Mendelssohn Stradivarius, host and narrator James Raffan from concert partner organization The Canadian Canoe Museum, local Indigenous vocal group Unity, and the world premiere of Canadian composer Christine Donkin’s new work, “Canoe Legends”, was the climax of a very busy Symphony Week in Peterborough.
Symphony Week kicked off with an official proclamation by Peterborough Mayor Daryl Bennett on Monday, January 30 in front of PSO supporters, staff and the media.
Symphony Week continued with the arrival of Ottawa-based Christine Donkin, in town to complete a residency made possible by funding from SOCAN Foundation, ahead of the debut of “Canoe Legends”. Christine held composition workshops for school students in Apsley, as well as private music students in Peterborough. She also joined the orchestra at rehearsals to provide feedback to the musicians ahead of the world premiere, an initiative made possible by the Ontario Arts Council, and the Community Fund for Canada’s 150th, a collaboration between the Community Foundation of Greater Peterborough, Community Foundations of Canada, the Government of Canada, and extraordinary leaders from coast to coast to coast.
The PSO’s annual Intermediate Band Festival, presented in partnership with Lakefield District Intermediate School, was also held during Symphony Week in Peterborough. Thanks to generous funding from the Pilkington-Henniger Charitable Trust, 207 students from eight area schools were able to participate in the Band Festival on Thursday, February 2 for free. After opening remarks from organizer and PSO musician Lisa Quackenbush, and PSO Music Director and Conductor Michael Newnham, students attended instrument-specific master classes led by PSO musicians and local music teachers. Students then assembled in their school bands in the gymnasium to perform prepared pieces for the audience of teachers and students. The day ended with a fantastic massed band performance including all 207 students led by Maestro Newnham.
Later that evening the PSO board of directors hosted a small fundraiser for the orchestra featuring Maestro Newnham and violinist Elizabeth Pitcairn.
Thanks to such wonderful support from Peterborough and the surrounding area, Northern Voyage sold-out in the week ahead of the concert. Demand was so great for concert tickets that the PSO opened its Saturday afternoon dress rehearsal to the public. Rehearsal tickets allowed those who were unable to attend the concert the chance to witness a working rehearsal of the evening’s program, complete with host and narrator James Raffan, violinist Elizabeth Pitcairn, Unity and Christine Donkin.