For a number of years, the third week of October has been an unusually busy time at Orchestras Canada –and last week was no exception. Why? Well, the week typically incorporates
- the Canada Council’s annual meeting with the National Arts Service Organizations, an event we’ve been part of since its launch in 2005;
- Arts Day on Parliament Hill, a near-annual event organized by the Canadian Arts Coalition (of which Orchestras Canada is a founding member)
- A face-to-face meeting of the Board of Directors of Orchestras Canada.
This year, we added two more events to our schedule: a meeting between OC’s intrepid advocacy committee and staff in the Music Section at the Canada Council, and our first-ever virtual AGM.
It’s challenging to summarize all that we said and learned, but here’s a quick synopsis:
The central event at the annual NASO meeting, October 19 and 20, was the keynote address by new Canada Council Director and CEO Simon Brault (a copy of which you can access here). Key observations? The Canada Council will be an active arts advocate, and will be pressing the Government of Canada for increased arts investment. At the same time, Council will be continuing to respond to social, artistic, and demographic shifts, and programs will continue to evolve to reflect these.
OC’s Advocacy Committee, represented by Ann Lewis-Luppino, Shannon Whidden, Matthew Jones, Therese Boutin, Katherine Carleton, Micheline McKay and guests Gilles Choquet and Trudy Schroeder, made a strong case to Aime Dontigny and Daniel Swift on October 20 for the many ways in which Canadian orchestras help Canada Council achieve its identified priorities. We see this as the start of a longer discussion, aimed at “re-branding” orchestras as the lively, vital and engaged organizations that they are.
Arts Day on Parliament Hill, on October 21, was quite remarkable: over 100 representatives from the Canadian arts community (including a significant number of people recruited by Orchestras Canada and the Organization of Canadian Symphony Musicians) met with 97 MPs, senators, and senior officials over the course of the day, to make the case for increased arts investment and policy frameworks that will favour international exchange and better access to the digital realm by Canadian artists and arts organizations. You can read more about it, here.
On October 22, OC’s board of directors met for its second face to face meeting of the year, an event which was to have culminated in our AGM for the 13/14 fiscal year. Halfway through the morning, however, we became aware of the tragic and distressing events only 3 blocks away from our meeting room, in the very same halls we’d been walking through only 24 hours before. Rather than continue the day’s scheduled events, we opted to adjourn the board meeting, and postpone our AGM to a later date: there were simply too many unknowns, and we wanted to ensure that our busy board members maximized their chances of getting home safely that day.
We have now rescheduled our Annual General Meeting for Thursday, November 6 from 2-3 p.m., and members have been sent a revised notice of meeting. Participation will be on-line only, and—as the subject matter at this meeting is unusually important—we urge you to sign up and take part. Please visit this link for more information.