Plans for a professional orchestra in Surrey begin to get real

If all goes well, orchestra would perform a debut season of five concerts in Surrey starting in the fall of 2019

A professional Surrey City Orchestra

SURREY — Those hoping to establish a professional orchestra in Surrey are just tuning up for their time in the spotlight.

A 15-page business plan for such a venture was presented July 19 to the city’s Culture Development Advisory Committee by Ellen Farrugia, who is spearheading the effort.

The North Delta-based musician is aiming to have a pro orchestra perform a debut season of five concerts in Surrey starting in the fall of 2019, with a startup budget of $200,000.

“If Surrey wants to be a serious city, it’s got to have an orchestra,” Farrugia told the Now. “I think it’s about time.”

It’s all sounds like music to the ears of culture-minded Surrey residents and groups, along with some key staff and councillors at city hall.

“Right now (Farrugia, pictured) needs some people to help get this initiative off the ground, a good board of directors, and I’m hoping she can do that,” said Judy Villeneuve, chair of Surrey’s culture committee.

“It’d be wonderful to establish a local orchestra here to support our young musicians who are graduating from universities, to allow for performances south of the Fraser, and we now have a level of people in the community that could support it.”

A Surrey City Orchestra was established here in 2009, but it took a final bow after a couple of years.

Farrugia had performed with the ensemble, which was led by Wayne Jeffrey and Calvin Dyck, but she plans to do things different this time around.

The previous effort didn’t have a board of directors or society status, making it unsustainable, she said.

“They (Dyck and Jeffrey) wanted to get the product out there first and do performances, but this does the reverse,” Farrugia told the Now.

“We need to establish a working board at this point,” she continued. “I have people who have expressed an interest, but we need to get those three top postings, some really influential people there, because something like this does take a huge amount of networking to get enough support to get it off the ground.”

The orchestra would involve 31 to 37 musicians performing “professional live music that engages and enhances the lives of Surrey’s diverse population,” according to the business plan.

The debut season of a new Surrey City Orchestra, which is a working title for the organization, will “distinguish the SCO as something different and distinctly Surrey,” the plan notes.

“The programming will include a range of repertoire from the traditional classics, to South Asian influences, symphonic pop, move and video soundtrack and choral offerings.”

In order to achieve its goal of reaching out to Surrey’s multicultural demographic, the orchestra “will be flexible in terms of orchestra size, type of music performed, arts groups with which it partners, performance venues and target audiences.”

Currently in Surrey, the Vancouver Symphony Orchestra, or VSO, is the only pro organization that regularly presents live orchestral music, in concerts held at the Bell Performing Arts Centre.

The Surrey-based orchestra doesn’t aim to compete with the VSO, Farrugia noted.

“This would be more about partnering with community members here, such as the Naad Foundation, Hanyang Arts, various dance companies and choirs here and, most importantly, the Surrey Youth Orchestra, too.”

Farrugia first appeared before the city’s culture committee about 18 months ago to outline her dream of a pro orchestra for Surrey.

Since then, she said, a City Speaks survey revealed strong community support for the initiative.

“I haven’t had anybody not be positive about it,” Farrugia said.

A timeline for the launch of the orchestra includes plans for gala fundraisers in the fall of 2018 and spring 2019. The financial plan calls for first-year revenue from gala ticket sales and an auction, plus individual and corporate donations. In years beyond, grant revenue and ticket sales would kick in to help make the orchestra profitable.

Farrugia said she hopes to present her vision for the orchestra to Surrey business groups this fall.

tom.zillich@thenownewspaper.com

 

 

Just Posted

City of Surrey to remove eight dead trees along stretch of road where SUV was hit

Assessment confirms tree that fell was dead; others to be removed ‘early this week’

New Surrey Police force ‘swallowing up’ city’s funds, Annis says

City councillor says draft city budget shows new force coming at expense of ‘everything else’ in the city

Guitar ‘swap & sale’ planned at Cloverdale’s Shannon Hall

40-plus vendors are signed up for event on Saturday, Nov. 23

Panthers storm to playoff victory over Hyacks

Cloverdale’s Lord Tweedsmuir stuns New West in big win in B.C. high school football AAA playoff semifinals

CCTV cameras help Surrey RCMP arrest two bank robbery suspects

The robberies were in North Surrey on Nov. 7 and Oct. 1

Cold, stormy winter forecast across much of Canada, The Weather Network predicts

In British Columbia temperatures will be slightly above normal and precipitation will be just below normal

UPDATED: Vancouver Island’s Joe gets suspended sentence in Teddy the dog cruelty case

Melissa Tooshley expected in court on Thursday in same case

Nineteen boats carrying invasive mussels stopped at B.C. borders

Waters of Columbia-Shuswap still test mussel-free

Woman ‘horrified’ after being told to trek 200 kilometres home from Kamloops hospital

‘I can’t get from Kamloops back to 100 Mile House injured, confused… no shoes, no clothes whatsoever’

Canadian universities encourage exchange students in Hong Kong to head home

UBC said 11 of its 32 students completing programs in Hong Kong have already left

Midget no more: Sweeping division name changes coming to minor hockey in Canada

Alpha-numeric division names will be used for the 2020-2021 season and beyond

Duncan man gets suspended sentence in Teddy the dog cruelty trial

Joe also gets lifetime ban on owning animals

B.C. pushes for greater industry ‘transparency’ in gasoline pricing

Legislation responds to fuel price gap of up to 13 cents

B.C. woman ordered to return dog to ex-boyfriend for $2,000

After the two broke up, documents state, they agree to share custody of the dog, named Harlen

Most Read