This month marks the season end for our city’s many performing groups.
Theatre, music and dance events reaching top levels of excellence will be celebrated by thousands of citizens. One such event was the final Kamloops Symphony Orchestra concert on May 11 that included more than 100 choral and instrumental performers in a packed house, led by our world-class conductor from Montreal, Dina Gilbert.
The KSO attracts peak young professional musicians from Western Canada who propel our orchestra to an exceptionally high national tier.
According to the City Recreation Master Plan released last month, this level of excellence across our performance sector is greatly valued by a large portion of taxpayers who view arts and culture as key components to our liveability.
The successes of the season are even more extraordinary considering every group went into immediate crisis mode with the closure of the Sagebrush Theatre due to structural issues that are being repaired.
Although the roof damage was unpredictable, the gross shortcomings of Sagebrush, when used for anything other than a high school auditorium, have been obvious for decades. The lack of appropriate venues has become even more apparent as Kamloops parks and recreation staff scavenge makeshift stages to be adapted in hockey rinks, gyms, churches and hotels.
It is exciting to hear Mayor Ken Christian and councillors respond wholeheartedly to the unprecedented donation by the Fawcett family toward creating a new and economically feasible performance centre in our downtown core.
While it is hoped that Sagebrush can be repaired quickly to serve the school district, the additional and timely construction of a new facility would clearly be an outstanding benefit to our community’s event profile.
I believe this council, along with a freshly enthusiastic public, can eagerly support this capital project as a worthy investment in our city’s emerging brand of excellence.