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.



Just Posted

Fees ensure patients have access to parking at SMH, FHA says

Fraser Health Authority hasn’t heard yet from city hall about pay parking at Surrey hospital

Surrey memories: How the ‘IGUISBCSIR’ Facebook page became a hub for anecdotal history

Former Whalley resident Wes Mussato launched the group in 2011, 11 years after he’d moved to Ontario

OUR VIEW: Fraser Health should park the Surrey Memorial Hospital parking fees

On Monday, city council approved free parking, for two hours at a time, on the streets around SMH

UPDATE: Surrey RCMP say missing 17-year-old girl located

Police say Rachel Friend was last seen at 4:30 p.m. on Nov. 19, near the 14900-block of 81A Avenue

Three-team trade brings another goalie into Surrey Eagles’ nest

BCHL team ships Chase Stevenson to Trail and acquires blue-liner, goalie

Police aim to prevent retaliation after Hells Angel found dead under B.C. bridge

IHIT confirms Chad Wilson, 43, was the victim of a ‘targeted’ homicide

Otter makes a snack out of koi fish in Vancouver Chinese garden

Staff say the otter has eaten at least five fish

731,000 Canadians going into debt to buy prescription drugs: UBC

Millennials and those without private coverage were more likely to borrow money

Pot users, investors need to be vigilant at Canada-U.S. border

U.S. authorities say anyone who admits to having used pot before it became legal could be barred

Shirtless stranger loomed over couch and started stabbing, bloody B.C. murder trial hears

Colin John pleads not guilty as trial opens in 2016 Chemainus murder case

Late 2019 too long to wait for ridesharing: B.C. Conservatives

“While the rest of the world is embracing this transportation revolution, B.C. is only now staggering slowly toward legislation on a business model that’s been mainstreamed for over a decade in other jurisdictions.”

ICBC warns shoppers of the high-accident season at mall parking lots

Over 150,000 accidents happened during the holiday season last year

No deal in sight: Canada Post warns of delivery delays into January

Union holds fifth week of rotating strikes as both sides remain apart on contract negotiations

COLUMN: Higher interest rates will slow B.C. economy after ‘unusually robust’ show

Jock Finlayson is executive vice president and chief policy officer of the Business Council of BC

Most Read