“My earliest memories of the Victoria Symphony are from 65 or 66 years ago. I was in Elementary School and my sisters in High School. We were all taking music lessons of one sort or the other, but the high cost of concert attending was prohibitive for a farm family of seven. The high school music teacher arranged complementary tickets for us for two or three Sunday afternoon concerts at the Royal. In those days, the Sunday afternoon concerts were less formal. Long gowns and tails were de riguer on Monday night, but Sundays were just for Sunday best.
We all loved Hans Gruber. He was handsome and shy and entertaining. I don’t know if he spoke between selections for the formal Monday night crowd, but the young attendees on Sunday loved it. In those days my family would entertain our summer guests by taking them to the lawn concerts with Hans Gruber conducting the Symphony at the Butchart Gardens. Surprisingly, that was more affordable than the Royal.
Happy 75th Birthday and thank you.
“When I was a youngster, my mother, Dorothy Laundy, was very involved with the Women’s Committee of the VS. I remember seeing Glen Gould in the 50s when he was a very young artist at the Royal, VS was one of the 1st to have him as I recall. I remember making announcements on stage between screenings when the Royal still showed movies, promoting the annual Symphony Garden Party out on the peninsula where my friends and I parked cars in the field (directed the parking). I also remember being very impressed at being introduced to the conductor HANS GRUBER. Good memories!”
-Dave Laundy, Brentwood Bay
“We REALLY enjoy VS (and POV) and feel fortunate to have such quality productions in our city.”ood Bay
“So many wonderful memories! Beethoven, Mahler, Rachmaninoff, splashing through puddles of cherry blossoms on Broughton St, coffee at Caddy Bay after Sunday concerts and one uniquely memorable concert. The opening piece was a new, commissioned composition that hadn’t appealed to us. At intermission a woman with a beaming smile approached us. ‘How are you enjoying the concert?’ she asked. ‘Very much,’ we replied based on the second selection. ‘Oh I’m so glad,’ she said. ‘My brother wrote the first piece!’
Imagine – lessons learned in kindergarten held us in good stead. If you can’t say anything nice, don’t say anything at all. And perhaps – be careful about talking to strangers!
Thanks for all everyone in the orchestra and even associated with the orchestra does to enhance our lives so marvellously!”
“My memories of the Victoria Symphony Orchestra go back to 195-53 when I was a student nurse at the Royal Jubilee Hospital. Students sometimes got free tickets. Hans Gruber was the conductor and these were the first symphonies I heard. They stimulated my love of the classical repertoire which has continued to this day. Years later Mia Gruber, Hans Gruber’s daughter, was a nursing student of mine and we reminisced about her father’s time with the symphony. When I returned to Victoria in 1981, I once again began my contact with the symphony and this has continued over the years to this day.”
“The diversity of your programming is what I enjoy most. Something for everyone. My mom and I have season memberships to either Signature or Classics series each year. My dad used to enjoy the Pops (and LOVED the Movie Soundtrack “contests” some years back). Jane Eagleton was magical the night we heard her at the Royal. We’re so lucky to live in Victoria and have regular access to the Symphony. Bravo/a!”
“The joint concerts with the choral society are BRILLIANT. The performance of Carmina Burana a few years back sparked my love of choral/orchestral music. Changed MY LIFE!”
“Splash 1996: We were new in Victoria and this was our first SPLASH. We settled in on the lawn of the legislature with blanket, picnic supper and enjoyed the opening. As the sun went down a gale force wind came up and people “in the know” brought out their winter hats and mitts. The concert ended early with the 1812 Overture.
Most thrilling… Beethoven’s Fantasia for Piano, Chorus and Orchestra, Op. 80 conducted by Tania Miller”
“For several years my young daughter & I attended the Children’s Concert series. Our seats were near the front of the theatre, directly in front of the cello section. At the age of 8 she began playing the cello. She recently graduated from UBC & she enjoyed playing cello with the UBC Orchestra while studying for her science degree.”
“My family and I have never missed a Splash. It is my favourite day of the year. The one year it was cancelled, we met at a friend’s house, ate our picnic and played the CD of Splash. Another time we re-created Splash for a dying friend, complete with fireworks, the CD, picnic of course, playing bridge on our cooler – all in her living room! She love it and her husband still looks at the pictures with tears in his eyes.”
“On April 27th 2015 I was privileged to hear the Victoria Symphony playing Sibelius’ 4th and 7th. The 4th Symphony affected me deeply. It reminded me of the vast forests of Finland, Sibelius’ homeland. Then my mind wandered to BC and all our own forests where logging is still rampant. Every one of us benefits from the logging industry but in that sad, harsh music I could literally hear the trees speaking to me. Sibelius’ 4th Symphony depicted the wailing of the forests being decimated for the profit of the human race.”
“Some favourites: Naden Band, Alain Trudel, Brian Jackson, Chantal Kreviazuk, Shoko Inoue, Brian Yoon. – Really enjoyed “South Pacific”. – Was so disappointed in the colours used in the costumes and setting for Camelot. They were so dark and dull for such a vibrant, sparkling set of lyrics. – Staff are always pleasant and helpful.”
“Having the composer-in-residence program is always interesting. Some participants have been more appreciated (i.e. Tobin Stokes) than perhaps others, but the encouragement and opportunities for Canadian composing talent are hugely appreciated and applauded by us.
Looking forward to continued quality and health for our Symphony.”
“Our favourite performer is Müge Büyükçelen-Badel, who plays with such passion and vitality that we are always disappointed when she isn’t in the front. Zuill Bailey was extraordinary – Yo-Yo Ma has his work cut out for him if he hopes to top him! I loved all of the Chopin concerts, including Charlie Albright and Gabriela Martinez. I’m really looking forward to Lorraine Min playing Chopin. I hope Chopin features heavily in future programming!”
“Back in the 50s when I was a high school student I heard the symphony play Beethoven’s 7th The solemn pace of the 2nd movement hooked me onto classical music. In recent years I have been attending concerts first with my blind friend, Michael Brodsky, then with my girlfriend from high school, Sylvia McGillivray. Hearing the concerts has made such a difference to both these friends – highlights they can/could never get enough of! Thank you for the years of pleasure you have given us.”
– Mary Andrews
“Broadway musicals and Mozart” – Ann Howard
“Best concert of the year: Charlie Albright – Chopin. Terrific concert.”
“I enjoyed many of the concerts – however I find that if the orchestra plays with another group at the same time it detracts from both groups. I loved the Canadian College of Performing Arts.”
“Really appreciated Tania Miller’s interview with Terrence Tam: fascinating and inspirational. Choi Bros: When I first came to Victoria, I used to see them busking in the inner harbour! It was great to see them all grown up and so talented! So many wonderful concerts over the years!
“On Sunday November 16, 2014 I attended the concert with my daughter and a friend. It was the most incredible experience – but in particular the Dvorak Violin Concerto. The combination of Timothy Hankevich and Cory Cerovsek had to be the highlight of the season. The three of us did not need to speak – we were all “transported”. Thank You.”
– Rita Dempsey
“A few years ago, I started dating a woman (who I later married) who was an avowed rock and roller. Although she had no interest in classical music I invited her to Victoria to hear the VS. I told her classical music was music that could be felt. She agreed to come to that one concert and Tania and the music won her over. Later in a love letter she said she never realized the emotion and feelings one could experience simply listening to music. We have regularly attended VS ever since.”
– Charlie Lamb, Sequim WA
“Outdoor concerts are my favourite. I remember one evening at Butchart Gardens. There were about 10-12 dragonflies dancing over the audience as the orchestra played. It was magic! We enjoyed all of our indoor concerts as well, especially Bolero. The Splash is a perennial favourite. I haven’t missed one. Thank you so much.”
– Laurie Hurlburt
“I have enjoyed inviting friends along to the pops concerts to show them how wonderful our symphony is. Most have never heard them in a theatre and are duly impressed! Love the selection of music for the concerts, keep up the great P.S. I’m one of the under 50 concert goers!”
“A few years ago, the season’s concerts all related in some way to the finisher – a performance of ‘B9’ (that’s Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony… not BINGO). From the nosebleeds I looked down at a marionette Maestra Miller dancing to dead Ludwig’s tune as she conducted the orchestra/choir in a performance of what has to be the most beautiful, powerful compositions ever written. And I remember thinking, ‘Geez! She has all that fun and gets paid for it too?!’ I could only wish… This year, I experienced the season’s closer in a much better seat. I was much nearer to our Vic Symphony partnering with pianist Joyce Yang in a sparkling rendition of Rachmaninoff’s ‘Rhapsody on a Theme of Paganini’. The concert ended with Ravel’s ‘Bolero’. I’ve never been swept away by the sound of the pedantic snare and the meandering Moorish melody (to my ear) carried by the woodwinds. Not until the strings and the rest of the instruments weighed in and at the crescendo, virtually lifted a frenetic Tania Miller clear off the podium was I reminded, ‘This woman has the best job on the planet.’ “
– George Kusyj
“When I first moved to Victoria from Vancouver (1960) I attended several Victoria S. performances. Although those performances were pleasant, I decided not to continue. Several years later when our children were able to sit reasonably quietly at concerts we again attended, this time with seasons tickets. Fast forward to Sunday afternoon, May 10, and “Ravel’s Bolero”. What a treat that programming was! Joyce Yang was superb, carrying the audience with her every nuance as she treated us to her playing of Rachmaninoff’s Op. 43. And then the heavenly Debussy “Nocturnes”, the Vox Humana women’s voices truly sounding the magic of the Sirens. “Bolero” seemed to be the perfect conclusion to the afternoon. It reminded me of an article I had read many years ago which maintained Ravel, during a warm, sleepless night, was moved by the sounds of constantly repeating rhythms produced by the local sawmill… truth or fiction it’s an interesting thought. V.S.’ moving performance was the perfect way to end the season for us.
Thank you all for your many and varied gifts to Victoria’s audiences. We look forward to your 2015-16 season.
– Norma and Bill Selwood
“When Tania first came to Victoria she spoke to a group I belong to – C7VW and she spoke with such passion about music – it was that year that my girlfriend and I joined the symphony. We started with the Classical series – one year only – and changed to Signature which we’ve been going to ever since. We really enjoy and learn something from the pre-concert talks. I take my grandchildren to the Kids Series – all have really enjoyed. This year starting my 2 youngest granddaughters – 4 years old.”
“My life has been a life of music. I have been in choirs big and small, with or without accompaniment. The most sheer joy music has brought me was singing with the Victoria Choral Society, the Victoria Symphony and Brian Jackson conducting. Brian lives the sheer thrill of the music and it was contagious – more fun that music has been for me before or since. He brings a vitality and our wonderful symphony enhance it and is one of Victoria’s treasures. Thanks to all of you for so enriching our lives.”