Tickets for Symphony on the Mountain 2021 are on sale now, with the gala scheduled for Friday, July 9 and the concert on July 10, 2021.
The event was last held in 2015 at the top of Northstar Mountain at Kimberley Alpine Resort and primarily organized by a group led by Jim Webster, along with an army of volunteers, with music provided by the Symphony of the Kootenays.
Webster told the Bulletin that he and his cohort had talked about getting planning going a few months ago, with everyone agreeing they would like to hold it again next year, but he kept holding back, thinking he wasn’t sure that people were ready for such an announcement.
“And then, to see how quickly this vaccine rollout has gone from nothing to being distributed all over the world and people are starting to get vaccinated, I think we all just said let’s do it and let’s get it out before Christmas and let’s give people something to look forward to,” Webster said.
Worst case scenario, he added, if events are still prohibited due to the pandemic by summer next year, they will either refund tickets or defer the event by a year.
“Because really once we’ve got the program, we’ve got the music and whether it happens this July or the following July it doesn’t matter, but we’re really hoping it’ll happen this coming July.”
The Symphony of the Kootenays will once again be the performing group for the event and president Ian Adams said they’re super excited to have something to look forward to.
“It’s still a long ways off in the future,” Adams said. “As a society we’ve got a lot to get through between now and then, but there hasn’t been much positive news, particularly for performing arts. They’ve been hit very hard by the pandemic. They were one of the first things to be cancelled and they’re probably going to be one of the last to come back in terms of indoor live shows and performances.”
Adams said he’s very optimistic about where the world will be from a vaccination point of view by summer 2021 and of course, having the event outside is advantageous with the regards to thinking about planning an event.
He said they don’t have a lineup of songs picked out yet, but they will be selecting pieces that are accessible and well known, similar to last year when they played Beethoven’s Symphony No. 6, which features many sounds and motifs that suit a gorgeous outdoor setting. For their encore they played selections from The Sound of Music, truly fitting for a mountaintop concert in the Bavarian City of the Canadian Rockies.
The Symphony of the Kootenays are also unique in the sense that whenever they hold a concert, like SOTM 2015, they practice at home and then come together from many different cities on the Friday prior for a rehearsal, have a dress rehearsal on the Saturday and then perform later that evening.
“It’s mind boggling how it all comes together,” Webster said. “Last time with the Symphony on the Mountain we had a rehearsal on Friday night at the Conference Centre, and then Friday right after rehearsal we shuffled the instruments to the top of the hill and the next morning they had a rehearsal on top of the hill and then that evening we had the concert. It just came together like clockwork, it was amazing.”
Additionally, Webster said the whole community got behind the event, with volunteers coming out of the woodwork to help make it happen. He said he expects the same for 2021’s event.
“People here are just amazing,” he said. “When there’s an event that needs to be done they just step up and it’s great.”
This year they plan to position the orchestra lower down on the hill, and while Adams said he’s already had a few people ask why and say the whole point is to be on top of a mountain, being way up there presents a number of logistical challenges that are partially alleviated by setting up above the overpass bridge this time.
In addition to the difficulty of moving an orchestra’s worth of instruments, particularly percussive instruments which are not exactly the most portable things in the world, plus sound equipment and staging, there’s also concerns surrounding unforeseen weather events.
If a thunderstorm were to roll through, for example, there would be potentially hundreds of people exposed at the top of the hill and it’s not possible to get everyone down in a hurry.
“Being lower down you still have a great view where we are,” Adams said. “That was a point that we wanted so we got up high enough that we got the view, but we’re still low enough to keep our options open.”
There are also events throughout the weekend that will be at the top of the hill. Tickets will include the chairlift up and people can go up and explore at the top and then make their way back down for the Saturday evening concert.
There are two sets of tickets: Friday’s “Kootenay Gala” — think white teeshirts and black shorts —that will feature a gourmet meal and pristine vistas at the top of the hill, and then tickets for Saturday where you can picnic or hike around the mountain during the afternoon and then see the full concert.
Webster’s thought that people need something to look forward to were not unsubstantiated. At the time of his interview with the Bulletin at 2:30 p.m. on Wednesday, Dec. 16, just an hour after tickets went on sale, 20 per cent of tickets to Friday’s gala have sold out.
You can purchase tickets at this link here: http://www.symphonyonthemountain.com/?fbclid=IwAR2uX4avl3dFIUODZUJ68qP_qfrDygbWpbc4NZvAL98q8hVzeYGaKco6cd0