Arts & EntertainmentFeature

Grant provides KSO needed financial support

MPP Billy Pang joined the Kindred Spirit Orchestra’s Jobert Sevilleno and Maestro Kristian Alexander online recently to discuss the challenges that the popular orchestra has faced since the start of COVID-19.

Shelley Wister-Smith, a volunteer with the Ontario Trillium Foundation’s (OTF) local Grant Review Team, joined in the call and together, she and Pang had the opportunity to listen to how a $139,200 OTF Resilient Communities Fund grant will help the orchestra continue to connect with its audience – virtually.

“I want to congratulate Kindred Spirits Orchestra for receiving $139,200 in funding from Ontario Trillium Foundation’s Resilient Communities Fund,” Pang said. “COVID-19 has impacted organizations in many ways. I am pleased that through this funding, it will support and help this organization acquire necessary equipment to deliver live music performances to residents of Markham-Unionville and surrounding communities virtually.”

The Resilient Communities Fund was developed to help non-profit organizations recover and rebuild from the impacts of COVID-19 to continue meeting the needs of Ontario communities.

Funds from the grant are being used to help with fees for a part-time Project Manager and an IT technician to move live performances online, purchasing 65 iPads and equipment for the musicians, as well as audio/visual equipment rentals.

The new system will significantly shorten the time for preparation during rehearsals and enable presenting high-quality concerts to audiences not only in York Region, but further afield. The new system will also permanently replace paper music sheets and scores and save on average 20,000 sheets of printed paper annually. The digital system will also make rehearsing and performing in post-pandemic times healthier and safer by eliminating high touch-point exchange of paper sheets, pencils and erasers and by allowing hands-free page turns. The system will also (enable) the orchestra to offer “risk-free” outdoor performances and mitigate the impact of weather conditions (e.g. wind and low ambient light environment).

“The KSO will be the first symphony orchestra in Canada to significantly reduce its carbon footprint by replacing paper-based instrumental parts with a state-of-the-art digital system designed by Newzik for Apple”, Alexander said. “The KSO will join a growing international community of performing arts organizations that have transitioned their operations to an environmentally conscious business model.”

The Kindred Spirits Orchestra is committed to changing lives through music’s extraordinary power to communicate, inspire, uplift, educate, and entertain. Through outstanding live performances that are evocative, dramatic, and passionate, the Orchestra seeks to elate avid patrons and develop, in collaboration, new audiences of all ages for classical music. The KSO has enjoyed a remarkable popularity at Markham Theatre where it performs for sold-out houses and standing ovations.

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Photo: “The KSO will join a growing international community of performing arts organizations that have transitioned their operations to an environmentally conscious business model,” Maestro Kristian Alexander said.

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