Symphony unveils new season

No sooner did the PGSO mainstage season come to an end than their 2016-17 season got announced.

The Prince George Symphony Orchestra still has a couple of side-feature concerts before they close down for summer, but audiences can already start booking their dates for the reboot coming in the fall.

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The show list for next season looks like this:

Sept. 11 at 2 p.m. - Opening Day is always Pops In The Park, the free concert at Lheidli T'enneh Memorial Park.

Oct. 15 at 7:30 p.m. - Subscribers Only special event at the P.G. Playhouse entitled Mozart, Harp & Flute.

Oct. 28 at 7:30 p.m. - Chamber Music show at Our Saviour's Lutheran Church entitled Waning Crescent.

Nov. 19 at 7:30 p.m. - Mainstage concert at Vanier Hall, a gala event entitled #Promenade.

Dec. 18 (7:30 p.m.) and

Dec. 19 (2 p.m.) - Seasonal super event and audience favourite Handel's Messiah.

Jan. 21 at 7:30 p.m. - Mainstage concert at Vanier Hall entitled Beethoven's Pastoral.

Feb. 11 at 7:30 p.m. - Mainstage concert at Vanier Hall entitled Love Awaits You.

March 11 at 7:30 p.m. - Second stage show at P.G. Playhouse entitled Jazz in Paris.

April 7 at 7:30 p.m. - Chamber music show at Our Saviour's Lutheran Church entitled Gibbous Moon.

April 22, 2017 at 7:30 p.m. - Mainstage concert at Vanier Hall entitled Dvork's Legends.

May 14, 2017 at 3 p.m. - An annual favourite event, the Mother's Day Tea concert at Westwood Church entitled Sweet Baroque.

May 26, 2017 at 7:30 p.m. - Chamber music show at Our Saviour's Lutheran Church entitled Waxing Crescent.

The PGSO is on its second year of streamlining its operations to make maximum use of local performers and minimize the players they have to fly in from other locations to supplement the orchestra.

"We are finding local solutions," said general manager Jeremy Stewart.

"We have had a lot of people previously involved in the orchestra step forward and come back to us, because of the value we are placing on local resources, and we know there are others out there, so we would love to hear from anyone who wonders about joining us.

"Give us a call. Have that conversation."

Some musicians still need to be brought in, though, "and although we have greatly reduced the number of import freelancers, we have definitely upped the quality of those we do bring in."

The way to attract any players, or keep the ones already on the active roster, is to offer them the chance to play challenging, engaging, interesting music, said Stewart.

"There is no such thing as a garage symphony orchestra, so if someone is interested in this kind of music, there is really only one place to do it, so we have to make sure we are programming the stuff they will want to perform, and that makes for a better audience experience, too."

The symphony draws people from out of town, but the majority of attendees are from Prince George and the immediate area. Stewart wants the local focus to boost in that sense as well.

He is issuing a hand-hold challenge to the people coming to the shows: hold someone's hand to a PGSO show.

"If the audience we get to see a PGSO show did only one thing - bring a friend who wouldn't usually come - then we would be sold out every time," Stewart said.

"We can advertise aggressively - and that really works, by the way, we see the bump in ticket sales tied to running our ads - but if the community helped us in that one small way, too, it would keep us on a solid foundation.

It is a lot easier to attract friends than it is to convince strangers.

"Our patrons would know these people.

"Just think of one person you know in your life that might enjoy a PGSO show. Who would you like to enjoy the concert with? Bring along that one person, bring along two people, and now we don't just have an audience, we have a movement."

To reward those patrons who commit to the orchestra with a full subscription, one event next year will be exclusively for those with season's passes.

"Subscribers will have one show that is just for them, and it is an extraordinary show in store, and subscribers also get first crack at everything we offer," Stewart said.

"I strongly advise getting in on that show, and then all the other benefits come with it."

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