A deal between West Kelowna and the Okanagan Symphony Orchestra will see OSO musicians in Westside schools, after municipal council agreed to provide $5,000 in financial support to the symphony.
After an initial plea in November for $10,000, the orchestra was asked to return with an outline of services to provide in exchange for West Kelowna’s financial support.
The symphony outlined the deal in a Nov. 29 letter. The orchestra is willing to provide free admission for 20 underprivileged children and their parents to selected symphony performances.
During two weeks in spring, the symphony will send orchestra members for master classes at West Kelowna high schools or in-classroom performances at elementary schools.
The class will then attend a symphony school concert, with a backstage tour guided by the adopted musician.
The symphony will also provide the chance for 50 West Kelowna children to sing with the orchestra at a school concert on April 4 and conductor Rosemary Thompson will give three successive coaching sessions with the Mt. Boucherie Secondary choir or band programs.
Symphony general manager Scott Wilson noted that as the benefits will undoubtedly require a major allocation of resources and many West Kelowna residents already enjoy the symphony, it is hoped council will allocate the originally requested $10,000.
Council approved $5,000 from its discretionary funds for the orchestra during its budget proceedings on Jan. 18.
Coun. Duane Ophus noted it is important that the district recognize the symphony is a great organization. He said West Kelowna needs to start somewhere in supporting the symphony.
“They have to recognize our budget limitations… I know they have their own limitations.”
Mayor Doug Findlater said he was reluctant at first, and still is because of the precedent it sets in providing funding for cultural groups. He added that the symphony has provided a substantial program for West Kelowna residents and schools, so he would support the move.