Updated: OSO returns for new season

The Okanagan Symphony Orchestra is launching its 56th season by getting audiences to toss a toonie in the tuba.

The Okanagan Symphony Orchestra (OSO) kicks off the start of the 2015-2016 season with inspiration from the folk songs and dances of Finland.

The OSO concert season opening takes place Sunday, 7 p.m. at the  Vernon Performing Arts Centre.

“We open our season with incredible Canadian violin sensation Martin Beaver, and is one of Canada’s violin ambassadors to the international concert stages,” said Rosemary Thomson, OSO music director.

“We are thrilled to welcome such an incredible artist to perform with us on our stages this month.”

Beaver is an active musician for recital, concerto and chamber performances. He has been a concerto artist with orchestras around the world, including the San Francisco Symphony, the National Orchestra of Belgium, Mexico City Orchestra, the Portuguese Radio Orchestra and all major orchestras of Canada.

He has collaborated with many esteemed artists including violinist Pinchas Zukerman and eminent conductors such as Kazuyoshi Akiyama, Raymond Leppard, Leon Fleisher, and Charles Dutoit.

A recipient of many awards,  Beaver was the first to be awarded the use of the 1729 `ex-Heath’ Guarneri del Gesù violin on loan from The Canada Council for the Arts-Musical Instrument Bank.

He has also been the recipient of the Canada Council’s prestigious Virginia Parker Award for being the most promising young Canadian artist.

“The music from this concert will have guests tapping their toes and recognizing the pieces we perform; including Finland’s unofficial national anthem Finlandia,” said Thomson.

“For guests interested in learning more I invite patrons to join me one hour before each performance for our pre-concert chat where I explain the history and the meaning of each piece.

“I have also produced a short video as a brief pre-concert chat which will outline one of the pieces performed this weekend, to view go to our youtube channel which can be accessed through our website at www.okanagansymphony.com.”

The OSO is launching its 56th season by getting audiences to toss a toonie in the tuba, along with other fundraising initiatives.

The OSO is holding “support your symphony month,” which dedicates the entire month of October to encourage both individuals and businesses to support the symphony.

“We have created a top 10 list that outlines 10 different ways to support the symphony during the month by providing suggestions to support your local arts organization,” said OSO board president Ginette Williams. “The support from the community is of vital importance to the success of the OSO as we continue to re-invest over $800,000 annually directly back to Okanagan-based musicians, businesses, hotels, theatres and contract workers.”

Here’s the 10 ways to support your symphony:

1. Buy a season subscription.

2. Attend a concert.

3. Bring a friend to a concert.

4. Purchase 50/50 tickets (draw is Nov. 2 and tickets are $5 with only 4,000 tickets available).

5. Sponsor a concert, musician or guest artist.

6. Set-up a monthly donation.

7. Volunteer.

8. Attend fundraisers (next fundraiser is Nov. 8 at Sandhill Wines in Kelowna).

9. Include the OSO in your planned giving.

10. Throw a toonie in the tuba (find the tuba at concerts in October).

“We are thrilled to dedicate an entire month to encouraging residents of the Okanagan to support their local symphony,” said OSO music director  Rosemary Thomson. “This is the first time that we have dedicated October for this initiative and we look forward to the outcome.

“While many of the ways to support are year-round initiatives, our 50/50 draw and toonie toss are only available during October and are a fun way to get involved. Kids love the toonie toss.”

The Vernon concert takes place at the Performing Arts Centre Sunday, Oct. 18 at 7 p.m. (The pre-concert chat with Thomson starts at 6 p.m.) Tickets are $56.25 for adults, $49 for seniors, and $26.75 for youth and are available at the Ticket Seller, 250-549-7469, www.ticketseller.ca.