Vancouver Symphony Orchestra Maestro Otto Tausk. (Photo: vancouversymphony.ca)

Vancouver Symphony Orchestra Maestro Otto Tausk. (Photo: vancouversymphony.ca)

50/50 lotto players buck up for Metro Vancouver musicians hit hard by COVID

‘Rapidly growing jackpot’ for VSO’s 50/50 draw as they go online with TheConcertHall.ca

The jackpot of a new digital 50/50 raffle launched to help Vancouver Symphony Orchestra is at more than $12,500, and climbing.

The organization has previously relied on lotteries to support its education and outreach work, but this one is different, as proceeds will allow the VSO to play on in the year of COVID.

“With no concert audiences for our traditional lottery, we decided to move to an online raffle so that people can still support us while playing and enter for a chance to win a rapidly growing jackpot,” said Neil Middleton, the VSO’s VP of marketing and sales.

Online at VSO5050.ca, the first in a series of draws will be announced Nov. 20, with sales ending Nov. 19 at 11:59 p.m. Tickets are three for $10, 50 for $25 and 200 for $50. Raffle ticket buyers must be 19 years of age or older, and must be in B.C. at the time of purchase.

In a typical season when COVID-19 hasn’t killed concerts, the VSO performs five times in Surrey at Bell Performance Arts Centre during its “Surrey Nights” series, and also brings its “A Traditional Christmas” concerts there.

On Oct. 16 the VSO launched a Netflix-style streaming concert service that lets audiences listen to performances at home.

A website, TheConcertHall.ca, has become a virtual home for more than 40 concerts created and curated by the VSO, with subscriptions ranging from $9.99 (for seven days) to $129.99 (full season).

The recorded concerts promise high-fidelity audio and high-definition 1080p video. Rather than recording traditional live performances intended for audiences in large halls, the VSO has worked to create a unique soundscape crafted specifically to enjoy at home.

“The way we are recording allows us to create a truly unique experience,” said VSO Maestro Otto Tausk, whose contract has recently been extended for four more years.

“The sheer magnitude of raw emotion and collection of tonalities as expressed by different instruments can come together in perfect unison, and more than ever, allow us to be transported to other places within ourselves. That’s the magic of symphonic music. It allows us to explore images within our own minds. It is an endless conversation between past and present.”

During the season, the VSO will explore repertoire from Bach, Mozart and early Beethoven, as well as Pulitzer-Prize winning African-American composer George Walker, and contemporary Canadian composers.

“This is a project we imagined long before COVID,” said Angela Elster, the VSO’s president and CEO, “but that long-time dream’s timeline got pushed up by about four years. Through our new virtual performance home, we are incredibly excited to celebrate the power of music and to build connections around the globe through music for many years to come.”

November concerts on TheConcertHall.ca include “Beethoven & Sibelius” (Nov. 1), a “For the Love of Song” performance by Dee Daniels (Nov. 7), “Sturm und Drang: Haydn & Butler” (Nov. 13) and “Americana: Walker & Copland” (Nov. 20).



tom.zillich@surreynowleader.com

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