Sixty years ago, the largest towns in our region barely boasted 12,000 residents each. The original Okanagan Lake Bridge had been unveiled only a few years earlier, allowing single-lane traffic in each direction. The valley was increasingly poised for growth.
It was in this era that the very first performance of the Okanagan Symphony Orchestra took place in Penticton in February of 1960.
Growing with the Community
As life in the valley has evolved, so has the OSO. In the years that have intervened, the OSO has touched the lives of many residents, not only through performances but through its community and education programs.
Says parent Angela McKerlich, whose son plays in the Okanagan Symphony Youth Orchestra, “These musical leaders have an incredible positive influence and provide unique experiences to children that is rare to find. It is a huge investment of time and effort to ensure the next generation is invested in the benefits of music in our community. I cannot thank each of them enough!”
Through its relationships with audience members, donors, sponsors, musicians, composers, volunteers, students, teachers and community organizations, the OSO is proud to continually support its vision of a thriving Okanagan, united by music.
Audrey (Tannant) Patterson, Principal Trumpet for the OSO says, “In my 17th season with the symphony, I’m struck by how many friends, colleagues, donors, managers, young musicians, and audience members have been brought into my life as a result of my tenure with the OSO. My life has been immeasurably enriched.”
Diamond Anniversary Concerts
In this spirit of celebration and gratitude for all of the special relationships that have developed over the past sixty years, the OSO is proudly setting the stage for its upcoming Diamond Anniversary concerts.
From February 7 to 9 in Kelowna, Penticton and Vernon, these performances will unite past and present talents from across the valley. Featured artists include local composers Ernst Schneider and Kolby Zinger-Harris, a graduate of the Okanagan Symphony Youth Orchestra (OSYO) program. OSYO alumni are also in the spotlight as our guest artists: Jana Luksts (piano), Kira Shiner (oboe), Alicia Venables (violin) and Nick Denton-Protsack (cello and composition) have all since gone on to great success in the professional world, and the OSO is thrilled to have them back for these shows.
These concerts will also showcase a well-loved annual tradition: a side-by-side performance featuring both OSO and OSYO musicians. By the time these performances take place, OSO musicians will have mentored their younger counterparts over hours of rehearsal and camaraderie. With 120 musicians on stage at once, their performance of Tchaikovsky’s famous 1812 Overture will be a true spectacle of sight and sound.
The OSO invites you to join our musical celebration of the Okanagan’s past, present, and future! Tickets for Diamond Anniversary can be purchased for the Kelowna and Penticton shows through kelownatickets.com, and for Vernon via ticketseller.ca.