Published Apr 02, 2008Following Monday's announcement that the CBC Radio Orchestra would be disbanding at the end of the fall concert season in November due to a lack of funding, 150 or so classical music lovers took to the streets of Vancouver in protest.
Participants in the rally congregated in front of the Queen Elizabeth Theatre, marched around the block and ended up in front of the CBC building. Music students from the University of British Columbia had their classes cancelled so that those interested could attend the rally.
UBC master's student in violin, Janice Taylor expressed her support for the 70-year old orchestra, saying, "This is a really vital aspect of Canadian culture and the younger generation really does care about the future of this orchestra."
Others were more forceful in their stance against the elimination of this cultural icon.
"This is our orchestra," said Colin Miles, regional director of the Canadian Music Centre. "We demand that you rescind your decision and restore the CBC Radio Orchestra to health."
According to CBC news, Jennifer McGuire, executive director of CBC English Radio, said the decision to disband the orchestra was a matter of economics.
"We can't afford it," McGuire said. "The money we are spending on the orchestra could be used to bring more music to CBC Radio 2. In the end, it was a question of a difficult decision, but one we felt we had to make."
So is that more Ben Harper and Joss Stone they want to buy for Radio 2, more fresh young Canadian talent like Bell Orchestre, or more versions of famous classical pieces performed by the Swedish Radio Symphony Orchestra instead of compositions written and performed by our own?
With 32 CDs to its credit and a recent Grammy award, the CBC Radio Orchestra has also been a helpful showcase for Canadian composers.
Start writing those letters to CBC Radio now, and maybe the last Orchestra of its kind in North America won't become the end of its kind in Canada.