The Victoria Symphony has just returned from its first national tour, part of the celebrations for its 75th-anniversary season. Music director Tania Miller has been writing about her impressions of the orchestra’s experience as it travelled and performed.
It’s a bittersweet feeling to write the last commentary on the Victoria Symphony tour. But it was a perfect climactic celebration of our 75th anniversary Legacy Tour to be home in our own city, in front of a full house of our own enthusiastic supporters on Monday night for the final concert of the tour. The concert showed that our orchestra saved their best for our home audience as they finished the tour with triumphant success.
With those final chords still ringing in my ears, I can’t help but reflect on what it all meant.
“Why should the Victoria Symphony go on tour?” That was the question asked of me as we started to talk about this tour three years ago.
Perhaps at the time, I had only a hazy perception of its potential rather than the crystallized version that I have in my mind now. Like all great things we do, risks have to be taken and we have to push ourselves into new places.
Sometimes we discover a hidden capacity and power in ourselves that we didn’t know existed until we take those steps. After all, this was the experience of a young farm kid once, driving away from Saskatchewan with enthusiasm for an unknown future.
Greatness is revealed when you have a vision for that greatness. This is the story of the Victoria Symphony and the story of Victoria itself. This 75th Legacy Tour taught us again that it is in reaching for something that we shed our past and emerge as something new, just as the Firebird of our final piece re-emerges in victory out of the ashes.
On Monday night, the Victoria Symphony felt changed, like we had all grown up and wanted to be understood for our new selves. It was a great feeling to perform for our own audience in our own hall.
The concert felt easy and natural, like we had been performing this way our whole lives. It was great to take a moment to celebrate our community, our supporters, our fans, our culture and to share with our audience all that we had become over the past week, and, indeed, the last years leading up to this moment.
One thing I know from this tour, and wish all of you could have experienced, was the sound of your orchestra in other halls. The Royal Theatre, and its acoustic challenges, prepared us well for the tour. But the past week has re-energized me to find ways to work together to enhance the sound experience for our orchestra and home audience alike.
The tour also demonstrated the ambassadorial role that the Symphony performed for Victoria. The orchestra represented a community that has vibrant interest and appreciation for the arts. “Prim Victoria” re-emerged itself as fiery and full of “volcanic energy”, The small orchestra that was expected presented itself instead like a large glittering force. Whatever it was that these various cities expected, we exceeded it.
Music is about conveying beauty, expression, and humanity through sound. It changes us when we place ourselves in its midst. For the orchestra, the opportunity to perform this great music together while representing our community to the country, and sharing with others who we are and what we stand for, was a unique and precious experience that changed all of us forever.
When you hear the Victoria Symphony perform with an added dimension that you can’t quite tangibly explain, you’ll know that it’s the magic that the music brought to all of us, as the gift that it is, changed us.
And when you join us, or any of the incredible arts presentations in this community, you will feel the blessing of what it is to live in a beautiful community that nurtures and experiences the arts together.
This tour was a special celebration of the 75th anniversary of the Victoria Symphony. May it enjoy another great 75 years. And you, the caretakers of our culture, will ensure that this will be so.