The Niagara Symphony:
Its First 30 Years,

A.Winifred Sankey


Few small-city orchestras have had their early efforts as completely documented as has the Niagara Symphony. Usually, someone first has the bright idea of producing the history of an organization when it has reached some milestone, such as a twenty-fifth anniversary, only to find that many of the people who could have supplied the necessary information are no longer available for consultation.

That this did not happen in the case of the Niagara Symphony is largely due to the foresight of our assistant librarian, Agnes Bubek, who from the very beginning collected all pictures, articles and advertisements she could find, and mounted them in a scrapbook. When this scrapbook eventually came into my hands, I continued this practice. As this became known, people requiring information about the orchestra began calling me. Eventually, leafing through the scrapbook and old programmes became somewhat arduous and time-consuming, so I decided that, in addition to keeping up the scrapbooks, it would be a help if I wrote up all the important doings of our group in the form of a yearly diary, and also compiled lists of music played, guest artists, and other such items that were frequently called for. And so this history began.

It should be noted that this was never intended to be a Pierre Berton type history; it was written not to be interesting reading, but to be a concise record of our yearly performances, and an easy source of reference. I am rather sorry now not to have included more humorous and interesting anecdotes. Heaven knows, plenty of amusing and occasionally hair-raising events did occur fairly regularly in those early years. Jon Wolanek was a very musical and competent conductor, and his personal warmth and enthusiasm were often all that kept us going, in the face of so many difficulties and constant near-disasters. On the other hand, he had (except in music) absolutely no sense of time! Rehearsals called for seven o'clock might start at eight or nine, and go on until far too late. Sometimes he would spend almost an entire rehearsal drilling the strings in their bowing (properly the concertmaster's responsibility) while the brass and woodwinds would sit around in utter boredom.

As a result, we lost a number of good players whom we badly needed. On the other hand, no one was being paid (if there was anything left at the end of the year, it was divided up, but we were lucky if we got enough to get our bows re-haired or a few new strings). So when the professionals got a chance at a paying engagement, they took off, and did not turn up for rehearsals; sometimes not even for the concert. Then there would be frantic calls to the Buffalo or Hamilton orchestras, and they would send us a substitute, who would have to play with little or no preparation, while the orchestra manager mopped his brow and prayed.

Of course, we were always short of money and borrowing money from the bank or from next years' receipts. All that saved us was our faithful audience who every year bought tickets (even if they did not always attend the concerts), and a few public-spirited local firms who made donations or took advertising space in the programmes. Not to be forgotten, also, were the Board and Women's Committee members, who spent long hours on the telephone, practically begging for subscriptions. I hope those who supported us so patiently in spite of our sometimes pathetically amateur efforts in those early years, feel as much satisfaction as they should, now that our Symphony has become an organization of which any city of this size should be justly proud.

If our audiences were our main source of strength, we were wonderfully fortunate in having solid support in two other crucial areas. The first of these was our local Musicians' Union. If the union had not permitted our non-union members, many of them young students, to play in the orchestra with the union members, and the latter to rehearse and play for far less than standard rates, the whole venture would have been impossible right from the start. It is not often that a union is so far-sighted. The end result for them has been excellent, since the orchestra is now fully unionized, and many local union members are able to remain in our city because they can augment their regular incomes playing in the Symphony's different concert series, and teaching in the Symphony music school. The music school, incidentally, teaches orchestral instruments to five or six hundred students each year, and gives orchestral experience to the best of them in the Youth Orchestra. Many of these have gone on to become professionals and swell the union's rolls.

The other rock on which new orchestras often founder is lack of support from the media. Again, we were most fortunate; the music critics of the St. Catharines Standard, first D.J. Williams and then our own Betty Lampard, were solidly in our corner and gave us a most generous amount of publicity. They reviewed all our concerts, praised everything they could, and tried not to be too critical of our weaknesses. Photographers were sent out whenever the Board or the Women's Committee did anything newsworthy. The local radio station taped our concerts and re-broadcast them, advertised the dates, and often did interviews with the conductor or Board members. The conductor was asked to speak at service club luncheons. These clubs, and many local industries, made generous donations, as did interested individuals. With such solid support in the community (which was later broadened to include the whole region) we were able to obtain grants, first from the Canada Council, then from the Ontario Council for the Arts, and later, for special projects, from Wintario. Thus we were able eventually to pay our players, improving quality and morale.

The conductors who succeeded Jon Wolanek each added something new to the development of the players and the general organization of the orchestra. Hard-working Boards tried out different ideas under each new president. So far as the players were concerned, probably the most important Board member was the orchestra manager, some of whom worked at this difficult and demanding task for years, with little public recognition. The manager had to see that players, halls and equipment were available (and, where necessary, paid for) and that necessary transportation was provided, for all rehearsals and concerts. But perhaps the hardest part of his job was to act as referee in any internal disputes, listen patiently to all complaints, and generally keep the peace and boost morale, while acting as a liaison between temperamental musicians and the Board. Three whom I remember as being remarkably effective in this role were Joe West, Bert Jarvis and Howard Phillips.

Obviously it would be impossible to mention by name all the Board members who did outstanding work, often for long periods of time. But three who come at once to my mind are Lloyd Goodwin, Wally Laughton and Alice Bukowski (our social convener for many years). The Women's Committee rendered invaluable service over the years, especially by raising funds and selling tickets, but also in all sorts of lesser ways, such as providing ushers, a changing room for out-of-town women players, and flowers for soloists. Paul van Dongen built up a Youth Orchestra that was one of the best in Canada at that time, besides heading the second violin section. Steve Pettes, head of the trumpet section for many years, started a Brass Ensemble which performed in the schools and at various community affairs, and also coached the Youth Orchestra brass. Bob Vandersluys worked hard with the trombones. Jack Silverstein was not only assistant concertmaster for many years, but brought up three boys who also played, both in the Youth Orchestra and with the Symphony.

I dropped out of the Symphony when the last of my children left for University, but remained on the Board until I had completed thirty years as Historian and Jim Curtis had agreed to carry on in my place. The Library of Brock University agreed to keep the documents on which this history is based. The Symphony Board was kind enough to appoint me an Honourary Member, and I was deeply honoured to be included in such stalwart company as Wally Laughton, Howard Phillips and Sarah Shannon (our treasurer for many years, who kept a firm hand on our expenditures).

My years with the Symphony were among the most satisfying of my life. I devoutly hope that, thirty years from now, the orchestra will still be successful and improving yearly, and that someone who loves it as I did will still be happily writing its history.

The story of the St. Catharines Symphony Orchestra began one wintry day early in the year 1948 when Conductor Jon Wolanek called at the music store of George McKey, to ask for names of local people who might be interested in forming a symphony orchestra. For many years, Mr. Wolanek had been concertmaster and assistant conductor of the Buffalo Philharmonic. As he had recently developed a rheumatic bowing arm that cut down on his fiddling, he became interested in setting up symphony orchestras in small communities. By this time, he had already organized such orchestras in Batavia and Jamestown, N.Y. He also conducted the Buffalo Civic Orchestra - a group formed to give summer concerts in the park. Later, he was to add Hamilton to the list.

George McKey sent him to Murray Morton, conductor of a small pop orchestra which gave summer concerts in Montebello Park for many years. Mr. Morton and his concertmaster, Bill Hose, were interested at once, and brought the suggestion to a meeting of the Lincoln County Music Festival board, at which the author was present. Here, it was decided to call a special meeting, at which Mr. Wolanek should speak, and to invite the heads of various organizations throughout the city who might be interested in sponsoring an orchestra, as well as a number of influential citizens.

This second meeting was held in February, 1948 in the City Hall and was well attended. Among those present who later became active in support of the orchestra - in addition to Mr. Wolanek, Mr. Morton and Mr. Hose - were Joe West, representing the Junior Chamber of Commerce, Mrs. E.H. Lampard, representing the May Court Club, and the author, representing the Glenridge Junior Musicians. W.F. Sherwin consented to take the chair. Mr. Wolanek spoke at length on the possibilities of setting up an orchestra, offering his services without fixed remuneration until the orchestra should be on its feet, and promising to provide music free of charge from the Buffalo library. George Hall, orchestra manager of the Batavia orchestra, also spoke, telling the group how successful their venture had been. His enthusiasm helped carry the day. In the face of some pessimistic prophecies, it was decided to organize a Board of directors and proceed to set up a St. Catharines Symphony Orchestra.


A rehearsal was called in Memorial School and about forty players showed up. Mr. Wolanek brought several from Buffalo (including viola player Albert Koch, I remember). Most of the local players had never played in any sort of orchestra before, and the results can be imagined. Mr. Wolanek called them "an orchestra of forty soloists". But they continued to rehearse faithfully, and when the Palace Theatre offered the use of its auditorium on a Sunday night, it was decided to attempt a first concert on May 30. No admission could be charged on a Sunday, but a silver collection was taken, and advertising was sold in the program.

The concert was a great success. Dunn's had loaned ferns to decorate the platform, the May Court Club members (who had also sold most of the advertising for the program) acted as ushers, and the orchestra, swelled by a number of imports from Buffalo, who came for a small fee at the request of Mr. Wolanek, presented an imposing appearance. The program was carefully chosen to be within the capabilities of a fledgling orchestra. The audience, not too critical, was completely thrilled with the results. Guest soloist for the occasion was William T. Thompson, foremost and beloved piano teacher of the district, who played a Haydn piano concerto. Mayor W.J. Macdonald made a short speech, as did Ross Wildfong of the string section, manager of the orchestra.

The success of this concert silenced the pessimists. Not only was the auditorium filled to capacity, but from the silver collection and advertising, a profit of over $800 was realized, enough to make a good start in the fall. The concert was repeated for school children and the different instruments explained. It was planned to make this an annual feature, and classes for ambitious young players were discussed.

Next fall, the orchestra went to work in earnest. Joe West was the first president of the Board of directors, Andy Black secretary, and Frank Gibb the treasurer. Most of that first Board stayed with the orchestra for many years; among them Mrs. E.H. Lampard, Margaret Bate, Harry James, Ross Wildfong, E.R. Wand, and the author. Of the eighty-eight players listed, more than a dozen were still with the group many years later.

Three concerts were given that season, in November, February, and May. The guest soloists were Mischa Mischakoff, violin; Bertram Rowe, baritone; and George Haddad, piano. Nearly 1000 subscription tickets for the season were sold at $2.50 for associates and $5.00 for patrons. The conductor was paid monthly, out-of-town players received $10, but local players did not receive any remuneration. A children's concert was also given that year.


The St. Catharines Symphony, 1949
The Symphony in dress rehearsal with Ruggiero Ricci in the auditorium of the St. Catharines Collegiate, 1949

In this season, the orchestra was fortunate enough to have in its string section a fine 'cellist, a refugee whom Jon Wolanek had befriended, named Ladislaus Motekaitis, and he was soloist at the third concert besides adding greatly to the other performances. (The author and her son John joined the orchestra this season.) The other two soloists were Ruggiero Ricci, violin; and Joan Rowland, piano.
[Please forgive an interjection by the author's son, John: I realize that this was a high school auditorium and a farm town orchestra that could accept a 9-year old after only 3 years of study, but Ricci played for us like a hunk of wood. That moment was when, I personally believe, my parents gave up on music as a career for me, that someone of such obvious physical skills didn't care about his music. Joan Rowland, a powerhouse, didn't change their minds, but perhaps allowed me and my sister Janet to get our ARCT in piano with our church organist.]
The number of sustaining memberships listed this year stood at six. On December 18, the Orchestra gave a Christmas Box Concert in the Palace Theatre, with Bill Hutchison as master of ceremonies and leader of the carol singing. Colleen Sadler, the orchestra's pianist, played two piano solos. Justine Gladkowska, a mezzo-soprano from Buffalo, sang a group of songs. The orchestra contributed several numbers, including Haydn's Toy Symphony [I, son John, played the burbling water-flute], and accompanied the carol singing. The concert was a great success and enthusiastically applauded by a capacity audience, but unfortunately their donations did not match their applause and because of the resulting financial loss, this venture was never repeated.


a publicity photo, 1950
"Youth and Experience": Evan G. Dewar and John Sankey, violins, November 1950

a publicity photo, 1950
Don Webster, French horn, Shirley DeLaire, oboe, Winifred Sankey, viola, November 1950

Joe West was again president. The orchestra had the good fortune to present Glenn Gould, age 19, then almost unknown, in one of his first concerts with orchestra. He played the Beethoven Concerto in C Minor, no. 3 Opus 37. The other soloists that year were Hyman Goodman, violin, of the Toronto Symphony, and George d'Anna of Buffalo, percussion.

When members of longer established orchestras assured the St. Catharines Board that no symphony orchestra had ever succeeded without the help of an energetic and devoted Women's Committee, the president called on a new member, Mrs. David Wright, to form such an organization. Bertha Wright had been in St. Catharines only a few months, but her interest in music and her experience with a similar organization in Toronto, not to mention her already recognized executive ability, made her a natural choice for this task. Mrs. Wright felt that all the Women's Auxiliaries in the city should be represented, so she called their presidents and asked them to send representatives to be members of the new committee.

The first meeting was held at Mrs. Wright's home on Glenridge Avenue, and over forty women attended. The purposes and work of such a committee were discussed and then, as Bertha tells it, "I went out to the kitchen to make coffee and when I returned, Betty Lampard told me that I had been elected chairman!"

The main work of the committee this year, and for many years after, was the selling of tickets to the concerts. These were called "memberships" to avoid conflict with the Lord's Day Alliance, since the orchestra could only afford to hold its concerts on Sundays, when the Palace Theatre could not be used for cinema presentations. A formal membership drive was held, supported by the Mayor, John Franklin, and introduced at a Symphony Tea. Teams were set up, long lists of possible members were compiled, and Women's Committee and Board members spent long hours on the telephone trying to contact them all. Often, to be sure of a sale, a seller would leap into her car and rush over to the buyer's house, to collect before he changed his mind. Once the orchestra improved a bit and became better known, such desperate means were not so necessary, but still, selling out the theatre was always a big task.


Mrs. Wright felt that the receptions after the concerts, which up to that time had been attended only by Board members and their wives or husbands, should also include the players, and she gave the first such reception at her home after the first concert of the 1951-52 season, at which cellist Boris Hambourg of Toronto was guest artist. The reception was a great success, but the crowd was so great that it was decided that larger quarters were needed. So from then on, until the concerts were changed to Sunday afternoons, they were held at the YWCA.

The second concert featured Bernard Johnson, baritone, and the third soloist was Reginald Godden, formerly of the internationally famous duo piano team of Malcolm & Godden. D.S. Walker was president this year.

A number of other services were rendered for the orchestra by the Women's Committee - a car pool was formed to drive players to and from the evening rehearsals, if they had no other means of transportation. Later, a room was rented at the Leonard Hotel, across the street from the theatre, for the out-of-town women players so that they could change their dresses before the concert. Flowers were provided for women guest artists and a parking lot rented where players could leave their cars. They often helped the Board when entertaining was required and, for several years, catered a Christmas party for Board and orchestra members. Committee members also looked after the ushering at all concerts.

To finance their activities, the Committee charged its members a membership fee of one dollar and undertook various projects. The first, which has been continued ever since, was the Symphony Supersale. This was held for many years in the Armouries. The funds raised were turned over to the Board at the end of each year for general use.


This season saw Wallace Laughton appointed assistant conductor of the orchestra and Cyril Johnston as concertmaster. An unfortunate accident to his arm prevented Mr. Johnston from playing, so he became instead another assistant conductor and took over the special string rehearsals. The first soloist was Artur Garami, violin; the second Lois Krieg, harp (who substituted at the last moment for Lauralee Burke, taken suddenly ill), and the third Aladar Ecsedy, piano. This last concert was recorded for broadcast by the CBC as part of a series of concerts by Canada's smaller symphonies. This series continued for several years, and the $500 paid by the CBC was a great help to the orchestra's limited budget. A most enjoyable Xmas party was put on by the Board, for members of the orchestra and their wives or husbands. This was held in the Thompson Products cafeteria, where the orchestra rehearsed for many years. In April, the Women's Committee gave their first Symphony Tea at the home of Mrs. Richard M. Robertson which was so successful that it became an annual event for many years. The object was not so much of making a great deal of money, but more of publicizing the orchestra and selling tickets. At these teas, there was always a bake table, and often music by some members of the orchestra. A surprise party was also held for Frank Gibb, who had been treasurer for many years and was leaving town. D.S. Walker was again president.


Lloyd Goodwin took over as president of the Board and Sarah Shannon as president of the Women's Committee. Soloists were Halina Biloshefski, violin; Mary Syme, piano; and James Milligan, bass-baritone. At the November concert, the work of a local composer was given its Canadian premiere: Two Lincolnshire Pieces, by Dr. Sidney G. Bett, director of music at Ridley College. At the annual meeting, Mr. J.E. West resigned his position as orchestra manager because of the increasing pressure of his own work. This was a matter of great regret to all, as Joe had worked untiringly for the orchestra since its inception, not only as president and orchestra manager, but also as a player in the oboe section. Sarah Shannon remained president of the Women's Committee, which inaugurated in this year its Symphony Super Sale, a mammoth rummage and white elephant sale with an auction of new or valuable donations in the evening. This netted nearly $1000.

Representatives of eight civic orchestras met in St. Catharines on January 14, 1954 for a one-day convention with the purpose of forming an Ontario Federation of Civic Orchestras. Chairmen of the convention were Mrs. David Wright and Mrs. J.S. Guest. The afternoon was devoted to workshops on different aspects of orchestra management, a dinner was held at the Hotel Leonard, and in the evening an open meeting was held at the YWCA with Boyd Neel and Louis Applebaum from Toronto as guest speakers. A Federation was actually formed and continued to meet for several years but then lapsed for some time.

The first week in May was designated Music Week in St. Catharines, and the Civic Orchestra took a prominent part. Its final concert fell within the appointed week, as did the Women's Committee Symphony Tea. On May 3, a mammoth concert was held in the city arena. Sir Ernest MacMillan conducted a huge massed choir and the Civic Orchestra played several numbers conducted by Wallace Laughton. Unfortunately the organization of the performance was better than the organization of publicity or ticket sales, for the performers outnumbered the spectators and this particular event was never repeated.


The president this year was again Lloyd Goodwin, and the soloists were pianist Gordon Manley at the first concert, playing the Concerto in G minor, Op.25 no. 1, by Mendelssohn; the Mary Schmon Singers at the second, singing two beautiful operatic arias, and lastly Mischa Mischakoff, concertmaster of the Detroit Symphony (and a personal friend of Jon Wolanek, which no doubt explains why he condescended to play with us!) performing the Concerto in D major, Op.61, by Beethoven. This last concert was featured as an event in St. Catharines Music Week, as was the Symphony Tea.

Our most faithful supporter, D.J. Williams, music critic of our local newspaper, The Standard, retired at about this time and returned to Britain. Dr. S.G. Bett took over writing up our concerts for the next few years.


The Orchestra Board president in 1955 was John S. Guest. Soloists were Rowland Pack, cello, from the Toronto Symphony, Roy Cairns, local baritone, and Ray Dudley, Canadian pianist. This year the Board put out small brochures with pictures and notes about the artists for the three concerts. This year the Women's Committee collected gifts of new articles from stores and good "white elephants" from their friends, to be auctioned off the evening of the Supersale. Mr. Richard Robertson, a professional auctioneer and former mayor of St. Catharines, whose wife was an active Committee member, gave his services and the total proceeds were almost a thousand dollars. At the Symphony Tea this year, a doll with a beautiful wardrobe made by Mrs. L. Bakker, mother of one of the orchestra players, was raffled. <


In 1956, under J.S. Guest, a new policy was tried out. It was decided to try spending much more money for guest artists and getting first-grade performers, in the hopes that this would augment membership which had been falling off. Accordingly, the following artists were signed up: Maureen Forrester, Canadian contralto; Alexander Uninsky, European pianist; and Albert Pratz, violin, of the NBC Symphony. It was found, however, that this had surprisingly little effect on ticket sales, and a disastrous one on the budget, so this experiment was not repeated. It took us some years to recover, but at least we had three outstanding concerts. This year was also the last one under Jon Wolanek. Forced by his health to move to Florida for the winter, he attempted to continue in charge of the Hamilton orchestra, driving up for the last few rehearsals before each concert, but it was felt that this could not be a satisfactory solution for an orchestra as amateur as St. Catharines. In the end, it proved unsatisfactory for Hamilton also.


Faced with the need for a new conductor, the Board, under E.L. Dodington, convinced of the importance of having a resident conductor, selected Dr. R.C. Clarke, a local organist, choir director and composer. Unfortunately, they did not realize that this background was not sufficient for an orchestra conductor. The orchestra players, however, were immediately aware of Dr. Clarke's lack of orchestral experience, and attendance at rehearsals fell off alarmingly. The problem was solved unexpectedly by Dr. Clarke's departure to a better position elsewhere. A concert was given in Burgoyne Park in July. Soloists at the regular concerts were the Mary Schmon singers, Dr. Clarke himself (playing a Handel concerto for organ and orchestra, conducting at the same time, also, a composition of his own for organ and orchestra), Charles Himann, local baritone, and pianist Gordon Manley. At the last concert, the St. Catharines Art Association arranged a display of their work in the lobby.

Perhaps the most important event of the year, though we would not know for some time just how important it was to be, was that Mrs. E.H. Lampard took over as music and theatre critic at The Standard. The publicity she gave the symphony over the coming years would prove to be invaluable. Her son Roy played oboe in the orchestra for some time (and was to return many years later, with his wife, to sing in the Symphony Chorus), so she had more than one personal interest in the success of the organization, of which she had been a member since the first meeting. We could always be sure that any of our activities would be well covered, with photographs as well as written reports, and while she did not hesitate to criticize when she felt criticism was due, we felt that, as a result, the public paid more attention to her frequently generous praise.

The Women's Committee put on a cocktail party for the Board at the Donald Walker residence to start off the membership drive. Later, a coffee party was given by the Committee, also at the Walkers'. This is the first year that there is a record of members attending a meeting of the Women's Committee of the Toronto Symphony. Mrs. H. Cavers and Mrs. E. Cuttriss were the delegates. A tea was held at the home of the author, to which school music teachers were invited, and fourteen teachers attended. This was to advertise school music concerts. The distribution of tickets for these concerts and the collecting of the money for them was another task the Committee assumed whenever they were held.


Once more in need of a conductor, the Board this time appointed a committee under Wallace Laughton to look into the matter, and after extensive advertising and careful consideration, they selected Winnipeg-born Leonard Pearlman, just returned to this country from five years study in Europe. It was not long before everyone realized how fortunate their choice had been. Old players returned and new ones located by an active expansion committee under Mr. Laughton floated in until some sections were actually overcrowded. Everyone seemed to take on a new lease on life, sparked by Mr. Pearlman's enthusiasm. Guest artists for the season were: Marion Ross, pianist and former St. Catharines student; Joe Umbrico, first trumpeter with the Toronto Symphony and formerly of the St. Catharines orchestra; and Teresa Stratas, soprano. The latter proved a fortunate choice, for after she had signed up to sing here, Miss Stratas won the annual Metropolitan Auditions of the Air and a contract to sing with the Metropolitan Opera Company. The publicity resulting from this was well exploited by Mrs. Lampard, who was in charge of publicity for the orchestra. Outstanding events of this year included three out-of-town concerts at Grantham, Welland and Niagara-on-the-Lake. E.L. Dodington was again president of the Board, and Dr. Jarvis took over as orchestra manager, with great success.

The Women's Committee took out one of the first full memberships at the new Rodman Hall Arts Centre, and used a room there to store goods for the Rummage Sale. Up to this time, such material was kept in the basement at CKTB. Mrs. Fensom, a tremendous worker who had been president for several years, left for a year in Edinburgh and the Committee presented her with a silver maple leaf brooch.


This was another very successful year for the orchestra under president H.J. Pothier. The most important innovation was the hiring of good professionals to head the four main sections: Deryk Aird, concertmaster, Paul van Dongen, second violin, Harold Schatz, viola, and Alta Mayer, cellos. Ted Mayer accompanied his wife and led the bass section. With the solid support of these good players, plus their help in conducting sectional rehearsals, the orchestra began to improve at once. An attempt was made to find pupils for these players, both to benefit the students and to make the trip here more rewarding for the professionals. Several pupils were found for both Mr. Schatz and Mrs. Mayer. Soloists for the regular concerts were Mrs. Mayer, cello; Anahid Alexanian, young local pianist; and Barbara Strathdee, lyric soprano from the Canadian Opera Company. School concerts were revived, and a successful one was given on March 27 sponsored by Samuel Bernstein.

Another highlight of the season was the visit of Sir Bernard Heinz from Australia. Sir Bernard was acting as consultant for the Canada Council in an investigation into the problems of Canada's symphony orchestras, and a special rehearsal was arranged for him on February 3 with all imports present. Sir Bernard spent most of the day going over records and talking with the president and orchestra manager, both of whom were much impressed by his keen mind and knowledge of orchestra problems. A dinner which was attended by all Board members and their wives or husbands preceded the rehearsal, and Sir Bernard spoke briefly and amusingly. Sir Bernard seemed much impressed by the work being done here, both by the orchestra itself and by the Board and Women's Committee. No doubt as a result of his favourable report, the orchestra, in 1960, received a grant of $1000 from the Canada Council, which not only eased its financial burdens, but gave it additional prestige which assisted those soliciting "sustaining memberships" - actually donations - from local industry. At the annual meeting, it was decided to reorganize the Board. To eliminate the deadwood, it was decided that every person on the Board should be there by virtue of holding down a job, the chairmen of the main committees constituting the executive committee.


In 1960-61, Hector Pothier was re-elected president. Guest artists for the year were: Terri Pothier, local soprano; Mary Elizabeth Brookes, young local pianist; and Deryk Aird, the orchestra concertmaster. The most outstanding event of this year was the inauguration of a three-concert series for school children. The success of this project was largely due to the enthusiastic cooperation of Whitmore Griffin, supervisor of music in the public schools. He enlisted the help of his teachers to distribute attractive brochures, to sell tickets, and to play records of the selections to be performed before each concert, accompanied by program notes prepared especially for the children. The Board of Education also gave the orchestra a grant to cover the difference between door receipts and actual expenses, to keep the price of tickets within reach of all. Thanks to the school board's far-sighted attitude, hundreds of St. Catharines children have been exposed to live symphonic music and demonstrations of instruments, discussions of themes and other explanations by Mr. Pearlman and Mr. Griffin, which have made these concerts a real musical education.

This year several out-of-town concerts were attempted. The record shows one at Welland and one at Niagara District High School. It also shows the first rehearsal at Rodman Hall. There is also an account of the surprise party given for Mrs. E.H. Lampard who had found her ever-increasing duties as music and drama critic for the Standard took so much of her time that she was obliged to resign from the orchestra Board, after twelve years. This was also the year that St. Catharines sent students to the new National Youth Orchestra for the first time.

1960 brings the first mention of the Junior String Ensemble, which Leonard Pearlman formed as a feeder group for the orchestra and which he rehearsed every Saturday morning. This ensemble, which regularly won high acclaim at various music festivals, took in many students who, because of coming from out-of-town or attending Separate Schools, were ineligible for the local school music groups. In a few years, graduates from this group were to play a very important part in the adult orchestra. In connection with this group, a policy arose of giving scholarships to talented students of orchestral instruments who found it difficult to pay for lessons.

A very successful Fashion Show was held at St. Thomas Church. Lunch was served in pretty boxes topped with a small corsage and Louis Berai put on the show with his own models. Henry Furs also took part. A special rack of "nearly new" clothes was a feature of the Supersale; they were cleaned free for us by Feasby's. In this year appears the first mention of the Flower Fund, so ably looked after for many years by Enid Rundle. This included not only flowers for guest artists, but also for Committee members who were ill. Delegates this year to the Conference of Women's Committees of Symphonies were Mrs. E. Cuttriss and the author.


Mr. Pearlman began giving a series of talks before each concert discussing the music to be played, which were arranged by the Women's Committee. Though not too well attended, these concert previews proved interesting and informative to those who did turn out. Soloists for that year were: Michel Dussault, winner of the top award for pianists in the CBC Talent Festival and sent on a tour by the Canada Council to all orchestras receiving Council grants; the Mary Schmon Singers, a very professional local group; and Rodney Pierce, chief oboist of the Buffalo Philharmonic. A chamber music concert was given for the first time, with a young local violinist, Tania Rudensky, as soloist in a Bach concerto. Tania was also soloist at one of the young people's concerts.

This year, a new project of the Women's Committee appears, an idea brought from Scotland by Mrs. Fensom, a Lenten Luncheon. This was held at the YWCA and on this occasion was not too successful. However, the idea seemed too good to discard and next year's luncheon, like subsequent ones, was very well attended. This year marks the Committee's first venture into service outside their own field when members staffed the office and a display during the Festival of the Arts at Rodman Hall. The Committee also served a buffet supper for the Board when they were entertaining members of the Board of Education, City Council and the heads of several large industries prior to the final concert of the series. A tea was given for Public School music teachers at Rodman Hall and Mr. Pearlman spoke to them on the importance of the School Concerts.

But the most important service that the orchestra rendered to the community this year, and which was to have the most far-reaching effects on music in the community for years to come, had nothing to do with concerts. For reasons which we need not go into here, the local school board found itself obliged to close down the ten-year-old school music program for a year. Faced with the disappointment of many eager young students and the indignation of their parents, the board asked the orchestra if they could help organize a stop-gap program to be carried on outside of school hours. The orchestra obliged by supplying from their ranks several talented players to act as instructors, and although these had no teaching experience, with the help of Mr. Griffin, who attended most of the classes at first and gave freely of his advice and support, they soon became excellent teachers; so much so that when the school music program was revived the following year, under Horace Beard, all three were retained as school music instructors and have done wonderful work ever since. Steven Pettes formed a fine brass choir, Robert Vandersluys did a good job with the trombones, and Paul van Dongen, head of the orchestra's second violin section, formed a string choir, and later a Junior Symphony which was to become among the best in Canada. In return, all these groups have since sent the orchestra splendidly trained young players, while their leaders, including Mr. Beard, continued to play in the orchestra as well. The Junior Symphony, which was to prove such an excellent source of players for the senior Symphony, was composed of students studying with private teachers who had reached at least Grade Six in their Conservatory exams. It was now decided to start a still younger group, also of students studying privately but below Grade Six, to act as a feeder for the Juniors. A group of 12 youngsters was started in the fall of 1961 under the direction of my daughter Janet, who also played in the viola section of the Symphony. They rehearsed every Saturday morning at 9 a.m. and kept up full attendance all year despite the early hour.

Mr. Pearlman made a trip to England that summer to take part in a competition for young conductors. The Board, in recognition of his hard work, made this an occasion for giving him a bon voyage party, gifts of luggage and a cheque to cheer him on his way. Though Mr. Pearlman was not successful in the competition, he felt the experience was very valuable. In August of this same year, the orchestra Board arranged for sponsorship of a concert by the National Youth Orchestra of Canada at the Palace Theatre. They looked after the sale of tickets and arranged for the billeting of the young musicians at Ridley College while various members arranged for their meals. This was a most successful concert, and thoroughly enjoyed by a capacity audience who gave them a standing ovation. One member of the St. Catharines Symphony, my daughter Janet, was in the viola section. Later, St. Catharines was to have an increasing number of players, well out of proportion to the size of the city, in this orchestra.


Lloyd Goodwin was president this year and the soloists were: pianist Carlina Carr from Calgary, local young violinist Tania Rudensky, and Doris Brown, contralto from Toronto. Mr. Pearlman's Junior String Ensemble performed at one of the Young People's Concerts. Tania Rudensky and Paul van Dongen played a Vivaldi Concerto for Two Violins with the Chamber Orchestra at a concert in February. The most important event of this year was the founding of the Symphony Chorus, which performed at a Chamber Series concert to a capacity audience at Rodman Hall. (Anyone who has had any connection with CAMMAC, Canadian Amateur Musicians/Musiciens amateurs du Canada, might be interested to know that it was Dr. George Little, founder of CAMMAC and conductor of the Montreal Bach Choir, who inspired Mr. Pearlman to start the Symphony Chorus, when they met at the home of the author.)

A movement was also begun to revive the Ontario Federation of Symphony Orchestras, which had been started here in 1955 but which had been allowed to lapse. A meeting was held in Brantford with representatives of about eight symphonies present, and a steering committee was set up to make plans for a big meeting in London the next spring. The name of the orchestra was formally changed this year, from "The St. Catharines Civic Orchestra" to "The St. Catharines Symphony Orchestra".

In the spring, the Women's Committee played host to the Conference of Women's Committees of Symphonies. Mrs. E. Cuttriss and Sarah Shannon were interviewed by CKTB and spoke on the history and activities of the Board and Women's Committee. This year, the Committee's contribution to the Board, which had been slowly creeping up from the original donations of under one hundred dollars, first reached a thousand dollars.


Dr. Albert Jarvis, for many years a devoted and capable manager of the orchestra, became president. Guest artists were: a quartet of young singers from the Canadian Opera Company; Hyman Bress, violin; and Erica Goodman, a young Toronto harpist. The usual two Young People's Concerts and three Chamber Music concerts were given. The latter were held in Rodman Hall, and the Women's Committee served tea after them. The orchestra received a grant of $1000 from the newly formed Ontario Council for the Arts.

At the end of this year, Leonard Pearlman resigned as conductor of the Symphony, to continue his studies in New York. To replace him, the orchestra Board chose Milton Barnes of Toronto, who had been studying orchestral and operatic conducting at the Vienna Academy of Music in Austria and who was also a talented composer.

A Coffee Party was held at the home of the author for Mrs. H. Cavers, a former president and active member of long standing, who was leaving the city. She was presented with a silver bracelet in recognition of her many years of hard work. The Women's Committee began providing dinner or a snack for those attending the Festival of the Arts; their donation to the Board was again a thousand dollars.


Dr. Jarvis was re-elected president of the Board, and the soloists were: Alien Siegel, principal clarinettist of the Buffalo Symphony; Erica Goodman, harp (a repeat from the year before by popular request); and Mary Simmons, Canadian soprano. The orchestra this year received a $2000 grant from the Ontario Arts Council. Two Young People's concerts and three Chamber Music concerts were given. Mrs. Lampard mentioned in her column that there were five players in the orchestra who had been former Symphony scholarship recipients, showing how this program had paid off.

On January 10, the Chamber Orchestra, together with the Symphony Chorus and the Brass Ensemble, and accompanied by the new Ridley College organist Peter Partridge, gave a fine concert to a packed audience in Ridley College chapel. At another concert in Drummond Hill Presbyterian Church, Niagara Falls, the Symphony Chorus, the Chamber Orchestra, and Clive Jacklin, organist of the church, performed, among other numbers, the Schubert Mass, with Albert Huibers, Terri Pothier and Charles Himann, all of St. Catharines, as soloists. The Symphony Chorus also gave a secular concert in Rodman Hall together with the Symphony Brass Ensemble. Local soprano Rose Band! was soloist with the orchestra at one of the Young People's concerts. In April, the Symphony Chorus with the St. Catharines Brass and Woodwind Choir presented the Bruckner Mass in St. Paul Street United Church as a special Easter concert. This concert also included the Songs of Nature by Dvorak, which the Chorus had performed at one of the Chamber concerts. And the Junior Symphony, now conducted by Paul van Dongen, played a Sunday afternoon musicale at Rodman Hall. To celebrate a year of splendid accomplishments in so many different fields, the Board gave a party at Rodman Hall in June for all players, choristers, Board members, Women's Committee members and their wives or husbands.


John Proctor took over as president, with Dr. Jarvis becoming membership chairman. Soloists were Sheila Henig, piano, Robert Aitken, Toronto flautist just returned from a year's study in Europe, and Nadia Koutzen, violin, who substituted at the last minute for Takako Nishizaki and did a wonderful job. Besides the usual Youth and Chamber concerts, there were a number of interesting variations. Conductor Milton Barnes announced, early in the season, a competition for young composers. Any student might submit a theme, at least six bars in length, which, if chosen, would be orchestrated by Mr. Barnes and played by the Symphony. So good was the response that Mr. Barnes had to choose five of the best themes and these he incorporated in a Children's Corner Suite which was performed at the February Young People's Concert, the young composers being duly honoured. The programs for this concert were hand-decorated by young art students in gay crayon colours.

The most ambitious innovation of the year was a concert performance of the opera Der Freischutz by von Weber in Sir Winston Churchill School on February 25. This was put on in English by the orchestra and chorus with six soloists, all imported except John Heidebrecht. Although the acoustics at the school left much to be desired and the opera would have been better in its native tongue, it was on the whole quite a good performance. But the attendance was poor and the orchestra lost quite a bit of money on the deal, so it is probable that this effort will not be repeated, which is a pity.

A number of other concerts were given, including a concert at Brock University by the Chorus, Junior Strings and Brass Ensemble, two out-of-town performances, and a concert by the Symphony Chorus in St. Columbia's Church.

The Ontario Federation of Symphony Orchestras, financed by the Ontario Council for the Arts, began conducting an intensive study to help chart the future growth and development of community orchestras across Ontario and retained Professor Ezra Schabas to evaluate the musical life of different communities and the role in this of the orchestra. Prof. Schabas visited St. Catharines and declared he was much impressed by the quality and extent of the work being done here. His general report was discussed at length at the annual meeting of the Federation which was held in Rodman Hall in June 1966. Another effort sponsored by the Federation was a summer string school, led here by Jacob Groob of Toronto, which proved very popular. The young players practised each afternoon, then were joined in the evening by members of the Symphony, and gave a concert in Rodman Hall at the end of the week as one of the free Sunday afternoon musicales. This was very successful.

The Lenten Luncheon and Supersale this year were so successful that the Women's Committee was able to donate a record $2,200 to the Board. New projects for the Committee this year were a Christmas Bake Sale and a Music Appreciation Luncheon at which Keith MacMillan was the speaker.


John Proctor was re-elected president and the soloists were soprano Jeanette Zarou; violinist Andrew Dawes, and Montreal pianist Irenius Zuk. Mr. Zuk's playing inspired such enthusiasm that it was decided in the spring to sponsor a full concert by him in the following year. Other concerts included a Wind and Brass concert at Brock, performances of Israel in Egypt at Ridley, Bethany Mennonite Church, Virgil; St. Catharines Mennonite Church, and Temple Sinai, Toronto. A Christmas party was given by the Chorus at Rodman Hall and a choral concert at Rodman Hall in February.

The Chorus also performed at the last regular symphony concert the world premiere of Bluebird in March, by Keith Bissell. A feature of the second concert was a performance of a new composition by conductor Milton Barnes entitled Pinocchio, A Symphonic Tone Poem, which was commissioned by the Ontario Federation of Symphony Orchestras under a grant from the Centennial Commission. Mr. Barnes composed this specially to be within the range of community orchestras and based it on ideas for narration at children's concerts. It was, as Mrs. Lampard wrote, "charming, light, gay, and tuneful" and was very well received by the audience.

The Junior Symphony again performed at a Chamber Concert in April and drew warm response and rave reviews. Members were invited to bring guests to the final concert this year. This proved an excellent idea, as it ensured a full house at a concert that is often not too well attended and should bring in many new memberships next year.

At the Annual Meeting of the Symphony Board, it was decided to change the regular subscription concerts from Sunday evening to Sunday afternoon.


This season was the twentieth anniversary of the orchestra, and was celebrated in September by a Fol-de-Rol at Rodman Hall - a party for all season ticket holders. Mr. Jack Edds was elected president, with Dr. H. Phillips again orchestra manager, this time with Dr. Alan Shaw as assistant manager. Milton Barnes was again conductor, and Deryk Aird was hired as a salaried concertmaster.

Three regular concerts were performed, the soloists being Joanna Myhal, mezzo-soprano; David Zafer, violin; and Frieda Valenzi, piano. Three Young People's concerts were given with the co-operation of the St. Catharines Protestant School Board, two being performed by the regular Symphony and one by the Junior Symphony under Paul van Dongen, at which the young players were given a standing ovation. A chamber group from the Symphony performed at a reception at St. George's Anglican Church, in honour of Mr. Eric Dowling, on the occasion of his 25th anniversary as organist and choirmaster of the church. After the final concert of the series, a reception and dinner was held at members' own expense at the St. Catharines Golf and Country Club, and was attended by about 80 members. Radio broadcasting was greatly increased this year, with eight concerts being taped and broadcast by the two local radio stations.

The Women's Committee, under president Mrs. David Plumb, had a very successful year. The afternoon format for concerts eliminated receptions, and serving refreshments to the orchestra at rehearsals was also dropped, as Milton Barnes often rehearsed only part of the orchestra at a time so it was hard to know when all players would be present. Dropping these services gave members more time to concentrate on such things as selling tickets. In addition to looking after subscription sales and ushering, they held a Christmas Bake Sale, a Lenten Luncheon, and the usual Super Sale. From the proceeds of these they were able to turn over a record sum of $2600 to the Board.

On December 5th & 6th, the Symphony Chorus presented Handel's Messiah, first in Grimsby and then in St. Catharines at Laura Secord School. Both concerts were performed to capacity audiences and brought in a total revenue of $2100. The Chorus also sang at Ridley College with an ensemble from the Symphony, presenting the premiere performance of Milton Barne's new Cantata for chorus and instruments.

The Junior Symphony was again under the direction of Paul van Dongen, and Dr. John Northover was appointed to look after their activities, which included organizing concerts, trips, and other events. Several concerts were given besides the Young People's concert already mentioned; at Welland, Niagara Falls, Grimsby and Toronto, besides two in St. Catharines. At one concert in First United Church, they played the Saint-Saens Symphony no. 3 with a fifteen-year-old organist, Lynn Honsberger, as soloist, a remarkable accomplishment for such young players. But the highlight of the season was undoubtedly a trip to Expo, where the orchestra played two concerts. This year, no fewer than fourteen players from this group played with the senior Symphony, which shows the importance of maintaining this training orchestra. Mr. Edds reported that the regular members of the orchestra now numbered 65, thus cutting down substantially on the number of imports needed. A new junior training group, called the Junior Strings, was revived this year, and was directed by Mr. Edward Lacey. Mr. Ben Doliszny took charge of arrangements for this group, which included two concerts and a skating party.

Nineteen young people from St. Catharines attended the Inter-Provincial Music Camp that summer, with the costs being paid partly by OFSO, partly by the Symphony Association and partly by the students themselves. Bursaries were also given by the Association to twenty very talented students of orchestral instruments, to assist them with the cost of private lessons.

One unusual venture this year was the sponsoring of a solo concert here by the gifted young pianist Irenius Zuk, whose rendition of the Rachmaninoff Piano Concerto no. 2 with the Symphony last year was so much enjoyed. Mr. Zuk played an afternoon concert for the students of Sir Winston Churchill School, and a full recital for the general public the following evening. This concert netted the Association about $100, although this was not the purpose of the venture, which was undertaken purely to encourage a fine young Canadian pianist, and to give the people of St. Catharines a very enjoyable concert.

The usual string school at Rodman Hall, conducted by violinist Jacob Groob, was held in July and was well attended.


The season started off again with a Fol-de-Rol party at Rodman Hall. This was good fun and also a kickoff for the subscription campaign. An extra effort to raise more funds was needed as the Ontario Council for the Arts had announced their decision to cut their grant to the Symphony by $2000 unless supporters increased their donations by the same amount. Fortunately, the Association was able eventually to meet this demand.

The Symphony gave their regular three concerts, the soloists being William Pengelly, piano; Rose Bandi, well-known local soprano; and Judy Fisher, clarinettist from Niagara Falls who plays regularly with the Symphony. Concerts were also played in Welland and Niagara Falls. These concerts were given with the co-operation of local school boards and donations from the Recording Industries Trust Funds. The Welland concert was not well attended, perhaps due to poor publicity, but the one in Niagara Falls was very successful.

One new venture this year was the presentation of six concerts in elementary schools of the district, by a woodwind quartet and a string quartet from the Symphony. These concerts, paid for by the school board and the RITF, were held during school hours. They were very informal, and the students were encouraged to come up after the concert to examine the instruments and to ask questions. The young audiences seemed to enjoy them very much.

Three Young People's concerts were given in the Collegiate and were well attended. The Junior Symphony, from now on to be known as "The St. Catharines Youth Orchestra" to avoid confusion with the "Junior Strings", took over one entire concert on March 9. Among the numbers performed on that occasion was Wagner's Rienzi Overture, which had won the young orchestra top honours at the Toronto Kiwanis Music Festival. Another Toronto Festival winner, fifteen-year-old Dodie Layton, played the solo part in Sienecki's Rondo for Flute and Orchestra. This concert so impressed the Standard music critic that she suggested these numbers should somehow be incorporated into the senior Concert series, although she recognized that this would present problems with the Musicians' Union.

The Symphony Chorus this year gave a fine rendition of Handel's Messiah - the only local presentation of this popular oratorio ever given with orchestral accompaniment as it was originally written. The Symphony, naturally, furnished the accompaniment, which added greatly to the performance. This was very well attended, and the audience was enthusiastic in its response. Another concert, featuring the Haydn Mass in D no. 3, and made possible by a donation from the St. Catharines Standard, was given on March 9, in St. Catharines United Mennonite Church. Peter Partridge was at the organ. A quartet of leading players from the Symphony also performed.

The Women's Committee, under president Marian Plumb, held a profitable Book Sale in September, and a Holiday Food Sale and doll raffle in December. A film night was put on in the Unitarian Church, with three films from the National Film Board being shown. Refreshments were served afterwards. The annual Super Sale was held in the spring, and these various activities netted $1600 for the Symphony.

A fifth Annual String School was conducted at Rodman Hall in July by Berul Sugarman, of the Toronto Symphony, with a Junior group in the mornings and afternoons, and a senior group in the afternoons and evenings. The junior group formed a nucleus for the enlarged Junior Strings group, which was again under the direction of Ed Lacey. Six young players from the Symphony were accepted for the National Youth Orchestra, two went to the Banff School of Fine Arts, and one to the International Congress of Strings at Saratoga Springs.


In 1969-70, Dr. A. Jarvis returned as president of the Board, a position he had held previously in 1963 and 1964. Wallace Laughton agreed to take charge of all but final rehearsals of the Symphony Chorus. The most important change this year was the locale of the subscription concerts, which had been held in the Palace Theatre for so many years, but were now to be held in the new Thistle Theatre at Brock University. This had many advantages, especially because it made possible final rehearsals in the hall where the concert was to be given. But the most important was the improvement in the quality of sound, since the acoustics were much better. Another important change was the addition of a fourth concert to the regular series. Soloists for these were: Martin Polten, guitar; Adele Armin, violin; Mari-Elizabeth Morgen, piano; and the Symphony Chorus, singing the Hovhaness Magnificat with the orchestra.

The series of three Young People's concerts was given as usual, with Adele Armin returning as soloist for the first, the St. Catharines Youth Orchestra taking over the second concert, and Bruce Plumb, violinist, formerly with the St. Catharines Youth Orchestra and now a member of the senior Symphony and the National Youth Orchestra, as soloist for the third performance.

The series of In-School concerts which proved so popular in the previous year was greatly enlarged. A string quartet, a brass quartet, and a wind quartet from the Symphony took turns in giving concerts at thirty-five different schools in the district. Students from other schools attended some of these concerts. This project was given by the orchestra as part of their educational program, which also regularly includes scholarships to young players who need help furthering their musical education, and to others wishing to attend the Inter-Provincial Music Camp. The players were paid by the Board of Education and the RITF.

The Women's Committee under Mrs. Eric White had a busy and successful year. Because of the smaller number of seats available in the Thistle Theatre, the concerts were sold out without any membership drive being necessary. This freed Committee members for a variety of other projects, including a Film Night, Bridge and Dessert party at Rodman Hall, Super Sale and Theatre Party as money-making projects. Lemonade was sold at Symphony Concerts during intermission. As this year marked the twentieth anniversary of the founding of the Women's Committee, a celebration seemed in order. So the annual meeting took the form of a special luncheon at Peggy Finnie's lovely country home, and all past presidents were invited. The very first president, Mrs. David Wright, was among those able to be present, and gave a talk on the history of the Committee.

Besides playing in the Youth Series, the St. Catharines Youth Orchestra accompanied the entire production of Annie Get Your Gun, put on by Garden City Productions, and added greatly to the quality of the performances. The Rotary Club of St. Catharines sponsored a concert for the group at Thistle Theatre in March, and another concert was given in First United Church. The young people also produced an excellent long-playing record, which was sold as a fund-raising project. Five of their members, who also play with the senior group, performed in a Young Artists concert series comprising two Sunday afternoon concerts at Rodman Hall. These concerts were co-sponsored by the Symphony and the local Arts Council.

The value of the training given young St. Catharines musicians by the school program and the junior and senior Symphonies was amply demonstrated when a record seven players were chosen this year for the National Youth Orchestra, of whom three became section heads.


A new feature of 1970-71 was the participation of the Symphony in the Fine Arts program at Brock University. The appointment of Dr. Ronald Tremain as Brock's first Professor of Music has had far reaching effects for the Symphony and its players. As just one minor example, Deryk Aird, the Symphony concertmaster, has been giving string instruction to students in the new music department. A full series of regular Symphony concerts was given, the soloists being Alvin Pall, saxophone; Judy Fisher, clarinet; Irenius Zuk, piano; and Adele Armin, violin. The concert given as part of the Fine Arts Series featured the Symphony Chorus singing Schubert's Mass no. 2 in G major with soloists Rose Bandi, Judith Tail and James Whicher, and pianist Mari-Elizabeth Morgen.

The Symphony Chorus was also featured on the Symphony's second subscription concert, singing Haydn's Te Deum. This was repeated twice on February 28; once in the afternoon at the St. Catharines Collegiate, and again in the evening at Niagara District Secondary School. For these performances, the Chorus was accompanied by a smaller group of instrumentalists from the regular Symphony. On April 15, the Chorus gave a concert of mixed music in the Brock Thistle Theatre.

Work with the young musicians of the Community was continued and expanded. The Junior Strings held regular rehearsals at the Collegiate under Mr. Abe Manheim and appeared in a short public appearance at a Public School Orchestra concert. The St. Catharines Youth Orchestra continued its splendid work under Paul van Dongen, and gave concerts at Beamsville High School, St. Catharines Collegiate and Ridley College. This last concert featured the new Brass Ensemble, a group from the Youth Orchestra which has been holding regular rehearsals under the Symphony's First trumpeter, Steven Pettes. Three concerts for Young People were presented at the Collegiate, with Whitmore Griffin as narrator. Two were given by the Symphony, and one by the Youth Orchestra. In-School concerts were also continued. At the Kiwanis' Music Festival in Toronto, the Youth Orchestra won its class with a mark of 91, and the Brass Ensemble with a mark of 90. St. Catharines is indeed fortunate in its music instruction.

As a complete change of pace, the Youth Orchestra and the Brass Choir joined with a Toronto rock group called the City Muffin Group, to perform a combined program. In the first half of the program, each group performed on its own; the second half featured a joint number written for the occasion by Art Charpentier, called Dance Of The Pink River Horse.

The Women's Committee instituted a first of their own this year - scrapping a number of small projects in favour of a new and highly profitable venture - a Mammoth Book Sale. Under the very competent direction of the president, Mrs. Hannalore Headley, this was a great success and will probably become a regular project. On the lighter side, a Coffee and Bake sale was held at the home of Mrs. S. Bernstein. This was not a big money maker, but a pleasant social affair. The final project was, as usual, the Super Sale, also very successful. Other projects of the year included renovating the Committee's storage room at Rodman Hall, with much credit going to the hard-working Tufnell family, and the purchase of ten large tables for use at the sales. A new feature this year was the formation of a Junior Committee, whose members took over the ushering at all regular and Young People's concerts, and who also sold lemonade at intermissions.

A series of three Young Artists concerts was jointly sponsored by the Symphony and Rodman Hall Arts Centre. These concerts were presented without charge to the public on Sunday afternoons at Rodman Hall. Soloists at the first concert were Donald Plumb, French horn; and Sandra Pohren, oboe; at the second: Dodie Layton, flute; and Tom Reiss, piano. The third featured first a family group: Dan Fruzzen, violin; Edward, cello and Beth, spinet. A wind quartet from the Collegiate Band and Youth Orchestra played a Rossini quartet, then a quartet headed by Paul van Dongen performed, followed by a chamber group including most of the earlier performers. The spinet used was one recently acquired by the Youth Orchestra. Members of the Girl's Committee served tea at these performances.

A special feature of this season was the return of Ireneus Zuk, who was soloist at the third concert, to give a recital here. The Symphony Chorus opened the program with a series of a capella works, and a cantata by the conductor Milton Barnes, which was accompanied by a brass group from the Symphony. For the last half of the concert, Mr. Zuk played a brilliant and varied program with works by Chopin, Liszt and more modern composers. At the close, he received a standing ovation from the delighted audience.

The closing activity of the Symphony was, as usual, the summer string school, this year conducted by Edward Bartlett, conductor of the Kingston Youth Orchestra, and Paul van Dongen. About fifty young players attended and gave a fine concert at the end of a very enjoyable week. As a token of their appreciation of the work the Orchestra is doing here, the Province of Ontario Council for the Arts raised their annual grant to $8500.


The season opened with a concert in Welland on October 16 with Mari-Elizabeth Morgen, a former Welland girl, as soloist. This concert was repeated as one of the regular subscription concerts on October 17 in Brock's Thistle Theatre. A reception followed this concert. The second regular concert featured the Symphony Chorus singing Rossini's Stabat Mater; soloists were Rose Bandi, soprano; Nancy Greenwood, alto; Velmer Headley, tenor; and James Bechtel, bass. On February 20, the Symphony presented Tina Yanchus, piano, playing the Rachmaninoff Concerto, and also the world premiere of Counterparts by Ann Southam, a work commissioned by the Symphony, which included some interesting electro-acoustical sounds. The Chorus sang Brahms' Song of Destiny. On April 16, the program included the Neilson Concerto For Flute And Orchestra, with Robert Aitken playing the solo part. This concert was followed by a farewell party for Milton Barnes. The Symphony Board having decided that the time had come to employ a resident conductor, Mr. Barnes, who did not wish to leave Toronto, resigned, to be replaced by a young Englishman, Leonard Atherton, who is very highly qualified and experienced. Mr. Barnes was, however, invited to return as guest conductor for the final concert next year, when he would conduct one of his own compositions, commissioned by the Board.

The Symphony also took part in a concert which was part of the Brock Fine Arts series, on March 23. A twenty-piece string orchestra from the Symphony played Bloch's Concerto Grosso no. 1 with Dorothy Glick at the piano, and Vaughan Williams' Concerto Academico In D Minor, with the Symphony concertmaster Deryk Aird playing the violin solo.

Besides taking part in many of these programs, the Symphony Chorus gave several performances of the ever-popular Messiah by Handel. One was given in Niagara Falls, N.Y., with the Niagara Falls Orchestra accompanying; one in Niagara Falls Ont.; and one in a St. Catharines Mennonite Church. The latter concerts were accompanied by a chamber orchestra from the St. Catharines Symphony, and the soloists were Dora Goertsen, soprano; Ella Dick, contralto; John Martens, tenor; and Nick Kaether, bass. The St. Catharines Mennonite choir joined with the Symphony Chorus for these performances.

For the first time this year, the Youth Orchestra, under Paul van Dongen, initiated its own three-concert series, the first and last concerts to be played by their own group, and the second an exchange with the Kingston Youth Orchestra. These concerts were held in the auditorium of the Brock College of Education. The first featured cellist Bernard Henderson, playing the Bocherini Cello Concerto. The Brass Ensemble also performed. The Kingston group, who performed on February 5, featured a Telemann concerto for viola and string orchestra, their chief violist Rex Trotter being the soloist. On March 27, the St. Catharines group joined with the Collegiate A Capella Choir, under Mrs. T. Pothier, to present Faur6's Requiem. Terri Pothier soprano; Joyce Hunter, alto; Velmer Headley, tenor; and James Bechtel, bass, took the solo parts, while Peter Partridge at the organ and Cathy Edmison at the spinet added to the support given by the orchestra. This was a deeply moving performance. The first part of the program was played by the orchestra and the brass ensemble.

The educational work of the Symphony continued as usual. Three Young People's concerts were given, with Whitmore Griffin as narrator. The first included the well known Peter And The Wolf, and the soloists from the Symphony production of Rossini's Stabat Mater performed several numbers. Highlight of the second concert was a delightful number called Tubby The Tuba. Steven Pettes also soloed a Haydn trumpet concerto. The Youth Orchestra performed at the third concert, and then repeated this concert in Beamsville. Thirty-two In-School concerts were given throughout the district by a string quartet under Deryk Aird, a brass quartet under Steven Pettes and a woodwind quartet under Judy Fisher. These concerts were arranged by Horace Beard, and funds came from the Lincoln County Board of Education and the Musicians' Union.

The Junior Strings, under Mr. Abe Manheim, almost doubled its membership, and provided a very rewarding experience for these novices in group playing. The Bursary Committee reported only one request for help, which was given, and it felt more advertising of this program was needed.

The Women's Committee reported a very successful year. A repeat of the Book Sale, which did so well last year, was again a good money maker. One unusual project was a display of Tibetan art, beautifully displayed at Rodman Hall. At the official opening, which was also a delightful party, Dr. G.M.C. Sprung of the Department of Eastern Philosophy at Brock explained the significance of the unusual paintings. Many pictures were sold, netting a fine profit for the Tibetan group, and a modest commission for the Women's Committee. The season closed with the annual Super Sale, always a good financial project, and the president, Mrs. V. Headley, was happy to turn over to the Symphony Board the record sum of $3100.

The last event of the year is always the Summer School, and this year, in addition to the usual string group, a new brass, woodwind and percussion group was added. Edward Bartlett and Paul van Dongen conducted the strings, while Horace Beard, Michael and Shannon Purves-Smith headed the new group. Several senior students also assisted. 145 young players took part and gave a joint concert at the close of the session.


This season, being the twenty-fifth year of the Symphony, was a very exciting one. The anniversary idea was stressed throughout, with special silver covers for the programs, and a brief history of the orchestra included. A whole series of articles in the Standard by Mrs. E.H. Lampard, herself one of the original Board members, covered almost every aspect of the Symphony's development. Besides all this, there was the usual upsurge of interest always generated by the presence of a new conductor. Leonard Atherton was not only highly qualified and experienced in both orchestral and choral conducting, he was also young, enthusiastic and very likeable, and having made his home here had more time to devote to the group than non-resident conductors.

The regular subscription series consisted of four concerts. The first, on October 15, featured a former orchestra member, Stuart Laughton, as soloist playing the Haydn trumpet concerto, and another member, Dodie Layton, playing the flute solo in Gluck's Dance Of The Blessed Spirits. A reception, open to the audience, was held on the thirteenth floor of Brock University to allow them the opportunity to meet the soloists, the new conductor, and his wife.

The second concert also had a former orchestra member as soloist. Bruce Plumb, violin, and a fellow student violinist Malcolm Lowe, played Sinfonia Concertante by Mozart with the orchestra. A reception was held at the home of Mr. Plumb's parents for the two young artists.

The third concert had as soloist a young pianist from Niagara Falls, Kathleen Solose, and partly for this reason the concert was given first, on Saturday, in Niagara Falls, and then repeated in St. Catharines on Sunday. Miss Solose performed Chopin's piano concerto in F minor. The reception after this concert took the form of a buffet supper for members of the Board, the Women's Committee, and their guests. Special visitors on this occasion were Bob Sunter and Ken Winters, music officers of the Ontario Arts Council, and Terry Wardrope, president of the Ontario Federation of Symphony Orchestras, and his wife.

The final concert of this series had the brilliant mezzo-soprano Ivanka Myhal singing Brahms' Alto Rhapsody op. 53. This was one of the most difficult works ever performed by the Symphony. Its successful rendering was a fitting demonstration of the progress made by the orchestra in its twenty-five years.

In addition to the regular orchestra series, a second series of adult concerts was presented to include the Symphony Chorus. The Chorus also performed in a concert given as part of the Brock Fine Arts series featuring the duo-piano team of Tina Yanchus and James Hibbard. They played a new composition for chorus and piano duo, Tenera Juventa, composed by Dr. Ronald Tremain, head of the Brock Music Department, as well as other more familiar numbers. Also introduced at this concert was a new group called the Madrigal Singers consisting of Rose Bandi and Mary Whicher, sopranos; Joyce Hunter, contralto; Velmer Headley, tenor; and Michael Tansley, bass.

The first concert of the series for the Chorus and Orchestra was Handel's Messiah. The Chorus, for this occasion, was augmented to a hundred voices by the addition of members of local Mennonite church choirs. Soloists were Rose Bandi, Catherine Robbin, Velmer Headley and James Bechtel. This concert was performed three times: at St. Catharines United Mennonite Church, Brock's Thistle Theatre, and at Grimsby.

Second in the choral series was a Baroque concert given in St. Paul St. United Church. Haydn's Salve Regina was performed by the Chorus and a group from the orchestra with Velmer Headley as tenor soloist and John Butler at the organ. A Bach cantata had Michael Tansley as soloist and was followed by a Bach motet.

The third concert of this series was billed as "The Symphony's Twenty-Fifth Birthday Party Concert", and opened, fittingly, with John Cowells' Anniversary Overture, based on the tune of "Happy Birthday to You". It continued with the first movement of Schubert's Unfinished Symphony, being one of the numbers played by the orchestra in its first season. The main work of the evening, performed by the orchestra, Symphony Chorus and soloists Lynn Blasser, soprano, and Gary Relyea, baritone, was Psalms of David, a cantata composed by the Symphony's former conductor, Milton Barnes, and specially commissioned for the occasion by the Canada Council. Mr. Barnes himself was guest conductor for this concert, which was followed by an informal reception with coffee and birthday cake for all.

Last of the adult concerts for the year was a Family Pops concert, sponsored by Du Maurier, given both in St. Catharines and in Niagara Falls. Guest soloists were Stuart Laughton, again playing the popular Haydn Trumpet Concerto, and the Lincoln Centennial Choir. The Youth Orchestra also played one number with the senior Symphony.

In addition to these adult concerts, four Young People's concerts were given. At the first of these, Steven Pettes played the Haydn trumpet concerto, and a newly formed percussion group under Pat Beard performed two numbers, as did Mr. Pettes' Brass Choir. The second concert had Judy Fisher, clarinet, as soloist, and the percussion group played again. The third concert was, as usual, given by the St. Catharines Youth Orchestra under Paul van Dongen. This concert was repeated in Beamsville.

The Youth Orchestra also presented a three concert series, two in the Brock College of Education auditorium. At the first, Steven Pettes and Peter Wackett played a Vivaldi Double Trumpet concerto. The second concert was given, by the London Youth Orchestra in an exchange program. The last concert delightfully combined the Youth Orchestra with the St. Catharines Collegiate A Capella Choir, a fine group under the direction of Mrs. Terry Pothier. Paul van Dongen conducted the combined numbers, including Handel's Coronation Anthem (A King is Born). The choir also sang several unaccompanied selections.

The Lincoln County Board of Education sponsored the Young People's concerts and also a series of fifty In-School concerts given in the schools by small groups of expert players from the Symphony. The Symphony Board sponsored the Youth Orchestra, a Beginners String Group under Abe Manheim, and a Brass Group under Steven Pettes.

To help provide money for all these activities, the Women's Committee worked hard and came up with a donation of $3000. Activities included a Caribbean Jump-Up, during Grape Festival week, another very successful Book Sale at the Fairview Mall, with the Youth Orchestra performing one evening, a Dessert Card Party at Rodman Hall, and the usual Super Sale. A new and very successful project, sure to be repeated, was "An Evening of Wine and Music" held in Ridley's Great Hall with the Headmaster of Ridley, Richard Bradley, as a jovial Master of Ceremonies. Those attending sat around tables well supplied with wine and cheese, and sipped as they listened to the musical numbers, chatting in the intervals. Performers were the Madrigal Singers, Bernard Henderson on the cello, Rose Bandi and Joyce Hunter in solo numbers, and an interesting flute and percussion duo with Dodie Layton and Alan Beard. The Committee's Annual Luncheon was held at Peggy Finnic's charming country home and Mrs. Marlene Finora was named as president, succeeding Hannalore Headley.

Mention might be made here of three Spring Recitals held at Rodman Hall on Sunday afternoons and featuring players from the Symphony, including the flute and percussion duo mentioned above, the Madrigal Singers, and a trio: Sandra Fell, flute; Jean Langley, violin; and Dan Durksen, harpsichord.

Exciting as the 1972-73 season had been, even more interesting development plans were revealed at the Annual Meeting of the Symphony Board. The orchestra manager, John Northover, and the former manager, Howard Phillips, who had been assisting him, both agreed that the greatly increased scope of the Symphony's activities had made the job of orchestra manager much too involved for part-time voluntary workers. It was, therefore, felt that the Symphony needed a headquarters; a building had been made available on Brock Campus where files could be kept and the manager could have an office and a secretary. The resignation of Deryk Aird as concertmaster brought to a head the idea of hiring a resident concertmaster who would not only act as concertmaster and head the violin section, but would teach in a music studio located in the Symphony headquarters where other members of the orchestra could give private lessons. The concertmaster could also expect to become involved in some work at Brock University, as Deryk Aird had been, and also in the Lincoln County school system.

Naturally, the question that arose at once was, how all this could be financed, as the Board's present revenue had barely met its present commitments. The president then revealed that the executive had been investigating the possibility of holding a TV Bingo, such as had been operating very successfully in other cities of comparable size. The new orchestra manager would be in charge of this operation, assisted by members of the Board and the Women's Committee. Experience of orchestras in other cities with such Bingos had been very favourable and the Board voted to take on this project, and to hire a manager and concertmaster as soon as suitable candidates could be found.

The final event of the season was the Annual Summer School which started July 3 and ran for two weeks. This year was the eighth year for the String School, which ran for one week. James Coles, Ottawa, and Gunther Loffelmann were the instructors and enrolment was full at 60. The Brass and Woodwind school ran for two weeks, double last year. The first week was devoted to less experienced players. Horace Beard, Michael and Shannon Purves-Smith and Shimon Burstyn were the instructors. Enrolment was 70. The second week was devoted to advanced students, with 30 participants. This year for the first time we ran a Choral school. James Whicher and Terri Pothier were the instructors. Enrolment was only 30, all girls. A concert was presented on the concluding Saturday and about 400 persons attended. All in all, it was quite our most successful Summer School.


This year marked a considerable advance in the activities of the Symphony. Many of these were made possible by Brock University's loan of a building on campus, which was promptly christened Symphony House. Here, for the first time, the orchestra had a place of its own for storage of music and files, space for a permanent secretary and assistants to work, and best of all, for members of the Symphony to give lessons. A Symphony Board of Music soon developed, with eventually twelve teachers and an enrolment of over a hundred students; a tremendous boon to the city, and to those studying orchestral instruments, who earlier had to travel to Toronto, Buffalo or Hamilton for lessons. The revenue from this school just about covers the expenses of maintaining the building. A grant from the Chalmers Foundation paid for new furnishings, and Brock left some on loan. The new full-time paid personnel manager of the Symphony, Shimon Burstyn, who also plays first trombone in the orchestra and gives lessons, took over the running of Symphony Hall as part of his duties. Our new resident concertmaster, Philip Bass, used Symphony House not only for private lessons, but for his Junior Strings group. Our conductor, Mr. Atherton, conducted a series of Lunch Hour listening classes here. Those attending brought their lunches and spent the noon hour hearing interesting recordings and Mr. Atherton's explanatory comments.

To meet the cost of the additional paid staff, new sources of revenue were needed, and the Play-at-Home Bingo was begun. Four working crews, from the Women's Committee, the Board, and the orchestra, worked very hard, as did Peter Partridge as announcer, and the venture started out well. But, because of mechanical difficulties, inexperience, and insufficient publicity, the public's initial interest soon waned, and the whole thing was finally called off with a net loss of $400.

The Symphony played its regular series of four concerts in Thistle Theatre. These concerts were preceded by a short pre-concert recital, with the soloist of the day performing a varied repertoire. The first concert featured Velmer Headley, tenor, singing Britten's Les Illuminations. At the second, Deryk Aird, violinist and our former concertmaster, played Vaughan Williams' The Lark Ascending, a romance for violin and orchestra. Pianist Mari-Elizabeth Morgen played Beethoven's Piano Concerto no. 1 at the third concert, which was followed by a dinner in Willow Lounge, Brock University, at which the executive of the orchestra entertained the board of the Ontario Federation of Symphony Orchestras, who were meeting here. They also attended a rehearsal of our St. Catharines Youth Orchestra, and seemed much impressed. At the fourth concert, the ladies of the newly formed Cantata Choir performed Debussy's Nocturnes.

In addition to these regular concerts, several others were given. The Symphony was invited to open the Shaw Festival series in their new Festival Theatre, at Niagara-on-the-Lake. This concert more or less duplicated the first concert of the regular series. Then the St. Catharines and District Chamber of Commerce asked the orchestra to put on a concert as part of their annual Ladies' Night, again at the Festival Theatre. A somewhat lighter program than usual was chosen for this, enlivened by one number in which there was considerable clowning around - the mayor, Joe Reid, finally coming on stage to quell the riot and conduct the rest of the number. Another number was conducted by the winner of a raffle, which had offered the privilege as a prize. In a more serious vein, two young violinists, Brian Janzen and Kati Toth, played Bach's Concerto for Two Violins, and Ralph Rawsthorne narrated for Billy The Kid.

The Symphony gave a concert in Niagara Falls, in November, when Deryk Aird, violin, was the soloist, and another in Welland, with Mari-Elizabeth Morgen, pianist.

Then, in March, two Pops Concerts were given, sponsored by Du Maurier; one was at the Festival Theatre, and one here in St. Alfred's Community Hall. Guest artists were Velmer Headley, James Bechtel, and the Niagara Youth Chorus under Michael Tansley. The major work on this program was Tchaikowsky's 1812 Overture, for which the orchestra was augmented by a number of brass and woodwind players from Laura Secord and A.N. Myer Secondary School bands, not to mention a very realistic "cannon".

The Vocal Orchestral series consisted of three concerts; one, the Messiah, being given three times. Soloists for the Messiah were Rose Bandi, Velmer Headley, James Bechtel and a young English counter-tenor, Peter Giles. The Symphony Chorus was augmented for this performance by members of the local Mennonite Church choirs, and also by the Ridley Chapel Choir, newly formed by Michael Tansley, director of music at Ridley College. The second concert marked the first appearance on the series of the Madrigal Singers, a group of five very fine singers conducted by Leonard Atherton, who sang, appropriately, a group of madrigals. The main number of the program was Handel's Apollo And Daphne. The final concert was held in St. Catharines Cathedral, and the major work was Haydn's Harmoniemesse, with chorus and soloists. All these concerts were accompanied by a chamber group from the Symphony.

The St. Catharines Youth Orchestra under Paul van Dongen gave the first concert of their series in December. A special number was a Concerto for Four Violins, by Telemann, performed by concert-mistress Susan Hunter, Erika Enns, Maria Shach, and Grant Campbell. A brass ensemble, led by Shimon Burstyn, played several numbers. The second concert was given by the Hamilton Youth Orchestra, while the St. Catharines group played in London the following week, where they were entertained by the London Youth Orchestra. The final concert was given in the Cathedral in April, when the same quartet as before played the Vivaldi Concerto. Other featured players were Cathy Sisler, flute; Susan Hunter, violin; and Janice Morrison, harpsichord, in Bach's Brandenburg Concerto no. 5.

Members of the Youth Orchestra shared a program with the Brock University Choir at Ridley, in March. The orchestra also performed at two Young People's concerts, one at the St. Catharines Collegiate, and one in Grimsby High School. But the high spot of the year for these young players came when, after being auditioned, they were chosen as one of six orchestras, from all across Canada, to take part in the Canadian Festival of Youth Orchestras in Banff. This was a great honour, especially as all the other orchestras chosen had a high percentage of advanced students from university music courses, while our group were all elementary or secondary school students, average age fifteen. To raise funds for this expedition, the young people held a twenty-four hour Orchestrathon - after finding sponsors, they played for twenty-four hours, and raised over $5000. Funds were also donated by the Secretary of State, the Canada Council, Ontario Department of Education, the City of St. Catharines, and many local donors. The young people are now making plans for a special Tenth Anniversary year next year, and have already cut a record which they hope to put on sale then.

Sixty In-School programs were presented, twenty each by groups of string, brass and woodwind players from the Symphony. The usual three Young People's concerts were given, but apart from the one given in Grimsby, these were poorly attended. This was probably due in large part to the fact that Whitmore Griffin, who had always sparked this program by helping choose suitable selections, seeing that music teachers had copies of the programs, with notes and recordings to present to their classes in advance of the concerts, and generally talking them up in all the schools, was unable to do this now. Mr. Atherton felt that the Pops Concerts and the Youth Orchestra series are now reaching this audience, and that perhaps a type of Symphony In-School concert, with a lighter format, would be more successful.

A new choral group was formed in January under Michael Tansley. The Ontario Choral Federation has been suggesting the formation of young people's choral groups, to feed their best members into the Ontario Youth Choir. This new group, open to all singers under the age of twenty, is known as the Niagara Youth Chorus. It had this year about twenty members, and made its debut singing a preconcert number at the Chorus and Symphony concert in the Cathedral in March.

A new series of four free concerts at Rodman Hall, on Sunday afternoons, was well attended. Performers at these were, first, the Vaghy String Quartet, then came one by members of the Symphony, one by the Brass Quintet, and one by singers Terri Pothier and Joyce Hunter, of the Symphony Chorus.

The Women's Committee had a busy year. Besides helping with the ill-fated TV Bingo, they carried out six projects, which included two Book Sales, the Caribbean Jump-Up, a Christmas Wassail Party at which the newly formed Cantata Singers and the Madrigal Singers sang carols, an African Art Exhibit and Sale, and a Junque and Treasure Sale, replacing the old Super Sale. These projects enabled the Committee to donate $3000 to the Symphony Association.

The annual Summer Music School was greatly extended this year. The Brass and Woodwind section, under Mr. & Mrs. M. Purves-Smith and Dr. T. Inglis, was extended to three weeks, as were the String School under Gunther Loeffelman, and the Choral school under Robert Wood. Less experienced players and elementary school singers attended the first week; more advanced players and secondary school singers the second. From these students, a special group were chosen to attend the third week, with more advanced work and ensemble playing. A concert was given at the end of each week.

Adult players were not forgotten in the summer, as Mr. Atherton held four Summer Orchestra reading programs. This summer group was known as the Repertory Orchestra, and players from the Symphony and Youth Orchestra, as well as people from the community at large, took part, averaging an attendance of about forty-five. At two of these readings, young musicians working with the Camerata in their summer program in Niagara-on-the-Lake played concerti with the Repertory group. All felt this program to be a valuable experience, and hoped it might be continued and expanded.


The major change and development this year centered around the increase in the Association's administrative staff. The most important innovation was the appointment of an administrative director, Christine Mclvor. A resident of Niagara Falls, with a degree in political science and a part-time job at Niagara College, Miss Mclvor now very capably oversees everything from public relations and advertising to office management, assisted by a paid secretary on a LIP grant, and occasional volunteer help. Her regular financial and growth projections have helped greatly to ensure that the Symphony knows just where it is headed at all times.

Three new teachers were added to the Symphony House Music School staff this year: David Burstyn, horn and brass; Eleanor Braun, flute and piccolo; and Marian Sebestik, bassoon. A course of music training along Orff Method lines, for four and five year old children, was inaugurated by Muriel Kenny (piano teacher and president of the local branch of the ORMTA) and this was very well attended.

The Symphony gave its usual four-concert series. For the first time, each of these concerts was performed twice; first on a Saturday afternoon, and again on the following Sunday afternoon. The Sunday concerts were sold out, and the Saturday series was quite well attended, justifying the doubling of the concerts. Soloist for the first concert was classical guitarist Javier Calderon from Bolivia, who played the Concierto de Aranjuez by Rodrigo. The major orchestral work on this program was Vaughan Williams' London Symphony. Michael Purves-Smith, of the Brock Music Department, soloed at the second concert, in Haydn's Concerto in C major for oboe and orchestra. An interesting feature of this program was the premiere performance of Seven Medieval Lyrics by Dr. Ronald Tremain, chairman of the Brock Music Department. This work, for orchestra and chorus, was commissioned by the Canada Council for Brock's tenth anniversary celebration. Velmer Headley was tenor soloist with the Symphony Chorus for this performance. Pianist Adrienne Shannon was soloist at the third concert, playing Mozart's Concerto no. 23 in A major. At the last concert, Helen Hagnes performed the Mozart Violin Concerto no. 3 in G Major, and the main orchestral work was Schubert's Symphony no. 9 in C Major.

Three Pops concerts were also given, sponsored by Du Maurier. The first, a "Scottish Night" given at the Shaw Festival Theatre, proved tremendously popular. This was perhaps the first time that bagpipers have ever played locally with a Symphony orchestra. The five pipers were from the local Clan MacFarlane Pipe Band. Besides solo numbers, they played three pieces with the orchestra: Road to the Isles, Skye Boat Song, and Amazing Grace, arranged for the occasion by the conductor, Leonard Atherton. Joyce Hunter of the Madrigal Singers, and Thomas Whiteside sang solos, and the latter conducted a sing-along of Scottish songs, from words printed in the program. Three songs by the newly formed Niagara Youth Chorus under Michael Tansley, Scottish dancing by Terri Buckley, and poems read by Norman Harder, the master of ceremonies, completed the entertainment.

The second Pop concert featured Prokofieff s Peter And The Wolf, narrated by Scan Mulcahy, with the Carousel Players acting out the parts of the various characters. On the same program were several vocal numbers beautifully sung by soprano Sarita Roche. This concert was given twice, once in the St. Catharines Collegiate, and once in the Shaw Theatre.

In the Choral series, the first performance was Bach's Christmas Oratorio. Soloists were Rose Bandi, Joyce Hunter and Velmer Headley (of the Madrigal Singers) and James Bechtel, accompanied by the orchestra and Symphony Chorus. They performed well, but unfortunately the locale, St. Alfred's Church, proved to be a very poor setting, with its unusual width and low ceiling, and did not do the performance justice. The next concert, Haydn's Creation, was held in the St. Catharines United Mennonite Church, a much better choice. Soloists for Creation were Rose Bandi, Donna Sullivan, John Martens, James Bechtel and Michael Tansley. The third concert was titled An Easter Anthem. Blow's Coronation Anthem, a Mozart Serenade, and Beethoven's "Ah, perfido" made up the first half of the concert, while the second half was the lovely cantata by Bach, "Christ Lag in Totesbanden". The solo parts were taken by Terri Pothier, Donna Sullivan and Velmer Headley.

Two concerts not listed in the two series were a concert in St. Alfred's, sponsored by the local Chamber of Commerce, and one called "Project '76", at St. Paul St. United Church, by members of the Chorus and Symphony. The latter concert was part of the church's celebration for its 160th anniversary, and featured the Bruckner Mass in E minor for chorus, brass and woodwinds. The Madrigal Singers also performed at this concert.

Members of the Symphony groups took part in various concerts at Brock University. The Madrigal Singers, the Cantata Choir and the Niagara Youth Orchestra Chorus took part in a concert there on January 30. In March, the Youth Orchestra Strings played with the University Choir in Renaissance and Baroque music, and, with soloists from the University and district, took part in a production of Dido And Aeneas by Purcell. The Youth Orchestra gave one of the Noon Hour concerts, playing a Vivaldi concerto with violinists Erika Enns and Mitchell Silverstein and harpsichordist Janice Morrison as soloists. The Youth Orchestra Brass Ensemble also played at this concert, and there were two numbers by the Youth Orchestra Chamber Group. Another special concert by the youth group was given at Ridley College, where they accompanied the Visitatio Sepulchri.

The Youth Orchestra gave their usual three-concert series; the first concert, in December, featuring a Concertino for Flute, Oboe and Strings, by Gluck. Alison Blair, flute, and Terry Peszle, oboe, were soloists for this number. The brass section played a Toccata for Double Brass Choir by Bonelli, and the Symphony for Brass and Tympani by Haufrecht. The full orchestra played several numbers, including a medley of Christmas carols. A record album recently cut by the Youth Orchestra was on sale in the lobby. The second concert in the series was given by the North Toronto Collegiate Orchestra. A major number in the third concert was the Reformation Symphony by Mendelssohn. The Brass Ensemble, conducted by Steven Pettes, was heard in Matthew Locke's Music for King Charles II Coronation. Erika Enns and Mitchell Silverstein played a Vivaldi concerto for two violins.

As this year marked the tenth anniversary of the founding of the Youth Orchestra, celebrations were held the last week in May. Invitations were sent out to all former members, and fifty-eight were able to be present. On the first night was a welcoming ceremony and a rehearsal, in which the alumni took part. On Saturday afternoon there were more rehearsals, then a formal dinner and dance, which Bob Welch, provincial minister of Culture and Recreation, and the local M.P., Gilbert Parent and his wife attended. Sunday afternoon was the day of the concert, with 111 players on stage. The present Youth Orchestra played several pieces, mostly repeats from former concerts, while the augmented group, titled the "Anniversary Orchestra", played the opening number, Humperdinck's overture to Hansel And Gretel, and the closing, a mighty rendition of Wagner's overture to Die Meister-singer von Nurnberg. A very touching performance was Grieg's Last Spring, played by the Anniversary Strings in memory of a former player, Jim Ediger, recently killed in an accident.

Two School concerts were given during school hours by the Symphony Orchestra, a highlight of one being a performance of Haydn's Toy Symphony, with teachers from the Lincoln County School Board playing the toy instruments and enjoying it hugely. A Mime was used in place of a narrator. Seventy-five In-School concerts were given, in both St. Catharines and Niagara Falls, by brass, woodwind and string groups from the Symphony. Several chamber music concerts were given on Sunday afternoons at Rodman Hall, in which players and singers from the Symphony groups took part. The first of these was a solo concert by a young guitarist, Javier Calderon, who had been guest artist with the Symphony the week-end before. The second was given by the so-called Camerata Group. These five young players, Mitchell Silverstein, violin; Karen Shakespeare, flute; Tom Fleming, cello; and Carolyn Kenny, piano, had been chosen the previous summer to study with the Camerata players, who were holding a workshop at Niagara-on-the-Lake for very talented young players. They decided to keep on playing together occasionally, and the result of this association was a very charming concert. Young singers Julie Wrycza and Cindy Green also took part in this concert. In March and April, chamber groups from the Symphony performed. The first concert featured Shannon Purves-Smith in a Mozart quintet for clarinet and strings; in the second, Philip Bass, concertmaster of the Symphony, played the leading part, with a string quartet and double bass.

For the first time in some years, the Symphony played no out-of-town concerts, except at the Shaw Theatre. The Madrigal Singers, however, gave four concerts in different branches of the Hamilton Public Library. This gifted quintet made their first recording for the CBC in November, following a successful appearance in Toronto at "Contact '74".

To help finance all these varied activities, the Women's Committee worked very hard all year. Their first project was a Potter and Weaver's Craft show at Symphony House, which ran for two days. On Saturday there was a Family Show, to which people were invited to bring their children. The young people were taught various crafts, pottery made by them was carefully fired and put on exhibition the next day, while the parents examined the exhibits and made their purchases. A Wine and Cheese party was held at the show that night. This was a very popular and successful venture, which will doubtless be repeated. A Jump-Up was held as usual during the Grape and Wine Festival, and a Book Sale was put on in the Landmark building in October. A second Book Sale, sponsored by the Public Library, took place later. The Annual Christmas Song and Cheer party was held in Ridley Great Hall, and both the headmaster of Ridley, Dr. Bradley, and the assistant head of the Lower School, Donald Hunt, gave readings. Members of the Cantata Choir and Symphony Chorus, under Leonard Atherton, sang carols and Christmas music, the guests joining them in a Sing-Along of the familiar carols. In February a Fashion Show was held in the beautiful Pond Inlet Room at Brock. Fashions were by Winston's, and coffee, desserts and door prizes were provided. A new venture for the group this year was a Barn Dance, in the Big Barn at Ball's Falls. While not a big money-maker, this was good fun, with the popular Orphic Easson doing the calling. The season ended with an Annual Meeting luncheon party at the home of Gwen de Campo, at which Marian Shaw was elected president for the coming year. Treasurer Bev Lewis reported a total income of over $9000, and donations amounting to $3500 were given to the Symphony.

The Annual Meeting of the Symphony Association was held June 23rd, in Symphony House, and president Peter Partridge was elected to a second term. The conductor, Mr. Atherton, expressed his satisfaction with the standard of performance attained by the orchestra, and particularly with the improvement in the Symphony Chorus, a satisfaction that was warmly echoed by all present. Jean Shakespeare reported that the Youth Orchestra Parents' Committee was now a formal entity, with a new constitution. Another new committee was announced at this time. With the great increase in enrolment in the Symphony House Music School (over 150 students) it was felt that a committee should be formed to deal specifically with matters pertaining to running the House and School., so a committee of five had been formed, under the chairmanship of Dr. Jarvis, for this purpose. The Symphony Chorus was also given status as a separate organization, under the parent Association, and is to be known as the St. Catharines Symphony Choral Association.

July brought the opening of the tenth Symphony Summer School, at which over 150 students were enrolled. The first two weeks were for junior players and singers with unchanged voices. Emphasis for these two weeks was on woodwind and brass ensembles and concert band work. Some of the better players from this junior group were invited to enroll for the third week, which was for the more experienced players, and singers of secondary school age. This last week put more emphasis on chamber music ensembles. Special instructors for this year's Summer School were Robert Wood, Susan Brinkman and Rose Bandi, assisted by members of the Symphony groups. The classes were held at West Park Secondary School, whose fine swimming pool proved a great attraction. A special feature of this year's school was the co-operation of the Camerata group, who allowed some of their Workshop students to do solo work with our younger groups. A public concert was held each Saturday, to show results of the week's work.

The Repertory Orchestra met four times in August, and at two of the rehearsals accompanied concertos played by students attending the Camerata Workshop. One of these soloists, Gwen Hoebig, was later in the year to win the CBC Talent Competition.

It is always a joy to the Association to see our young players progress in their careers. Three students were chosen from this area to play in the National Youth Orchestra of Canada: Dodie Layton, flute; Paul Ballyk, trombone; and Sandra Pohren, oboe. Elisabeth Vomberg graduated from U of T with a degree in music education, and will be doing music therapy in the Bloorview Children's Hospital in Toronto. John Langley graduated from U of T with an honours degree in music performance, and has received a Canada Council grant to study in England with Denis Wick, principal trombonist of the London Symphony. And Bruce Plumb, a graduate of the Curtis Institute of Music, is going on the music faculty of Duke University in North Carolina.


This was a year of steady growth and development, saddened only by the loss of several dedicated and valuable members of the Association. The most tragic was the sudden death of Dr. Albert Jarvis, often called "Mr. Symphony", so completely did he devote himself to the orchestra and its work in the community. A member of the Board for over twenty years, he was for many years orchestra manager, then president for two two-year terms (1963-65 and 1969-71). Most recently he was chairman of the Symphony House Committee. But his contributions went far beyond his official duties. Before the Association had a paid secretary, much of its secretarial work was carried on from Bert's office. Often, without telling anyone, he would meet expenses out of his own pocket. His home was always open to us for meetings or social gatherings (for this thanks are also due to his wife Bernice, who was also a member of the Women's Committee). For years, out-of-town orchestra players used his basement to give private lessons. But his greatest contribution was in the field of public relations. He had the rare gift of defusing impending crises before they resulted in open disagreements, while anyone with a grievance could be sure of a sympathetic hearing and an explanation, or prompt redress. Brock's Thistle Theatre was filled almost to capacity for his Memorial Service, and when the Youth Orchestra and the Madrigal Singers, groups of which he had been so proud, performed for him for the last time, there was scarcely a dry eye in the house. Few men have been more sincerely mourned, or will be more deeply missed. At the next meeting of the Board, Peter Partridge, as president, delivered a moving tribute to Bert. A Memorial Fund was set up, to which all members of the Board contributed, The interest from this fund will be used to augment the Symphony Scholarship fund.

Two orchestra members of long standing resigned this year. Paul van Dongen, for many years leader of the second violin section of the Symphony, was better known as founder and conductor of the St. Catharines Youth Orchestra, which he built up to a standard which compared favourably with those from much larger centers. On a number of occasions, it took first place in open competition at the Kiwanis Music Festival in Toronto. This year it was invited to be among those representing Canada at an international Festival of Youth Orchestras in Aberdeen. Although the orchestra members and their parents worked hard to raise enough money for this, grants from Wintario and the city were too low to permit the group to make the trip. Among other reasons, disappointment over this may have had something to do with Paul's decision to resign.

The other resignation was that of Steven Pettes, who for many years had played first trumpet in the Symphony. He had also played in a brass quintet, and had organized and taught a group of young brass players from the Youth Orchestra, who performed at many of the Youth Orchestra concerts. Both these resignations were accepted by the Board with deep regret.

The Symphony performed three regular pairs of subscription concerts this season. The first, on October 18-19, featured a Sinfonia Concertante by Mozart, with solo parts taken by a wind group from the orchestra: Michael Purves-Smith, oboe; Shannon Purves-Smith, clarinet; David Spence, French horn; Marian Sebestik, bassoon. The second concert, on November 22-23, had as guest artist Valeric Tryon, playing Schumann's Piano Concerto in A major, op. 54. Christine Harvey, a Canadian soprano from Montreal, was guest at the third concert February 28-29, singing Four Last Songs by Richard Strauss, and the cantata Exultate Jubilate by Mozart. The fourth subscription concert of the season was a special tribute to the Centennial of the City of St. Catharines. This super-concert was made possible by a partnership with the Community Concert Association, whose membership joined Symphony subscribers for this concert, and who provided as soloist the great Canadian contralto Maureen Forrester. Together with the Symphony (augmented by many former orchestra and youth orchestra members home at this time from university, and a few newcomers), the Symphony Chorus, the Lincoln Centennial Choir and the Christian New Life Choir, and our own soprano Terri Pothier singing with Miss Forrester, Mr. Atherton gave us a tremendous rendition of Mahler's Symphony no. 2 in C minor (the Resurrection Symphony) which brought the record crowd of over 2500 listeners to their feet in a burst of enthusiastic applause. Miss Forrester also sang a group of solos to open the program. This was a very ambitious project for a small-city orchestra, which was made possible not only by the united efforts of the different musical organizations involved, but by the sponsorship of Xerox of Canada, obtained with the assistance of the city's Centennial Committee, and by the assistance of Brock University, who donated the use of their largest gymnasium to accommodate the large audience. The officers of the two participating organizations and the visiting choirs, the local manager of Xerox and the president of Brock University were entertained at dinner by Mr. and Mrs. Partridge before the concert.

Besides the regular subscription series, the Symphony presented a series of three Pops concerts, sponsored by the Du Maurier Council for the Performing Arts. The first, on January 24th, had as its special attraction Tchaikowsky's 1812 Overture (complete with bells and "cannons"). February 14th was billed as "Scottish Night", since the one the previous year had been so popular, and again featured suites for bagpipes and symphony arranged by Leonard Atherton. Bagpipe solos, Scottish songs and dances, and a rousing sing-along of familiar Scottish airs, led by Thomas Whiteside, made up a very popular program. The third concert was based on Italian opera. Pennie Speedie, a fine soprano from Niagara Falls; Jill Pert, mezzo-soprano; and Velmer Headley, tenor, gave a program of well-known arias from Italian opera, supported by the Symphony Chorus, the Lincoln Centennial Choir and the Symphony.

The Symphony also gave two school concerts, in Beamsville and in Virgil, and two concerts for COCO, the cultural branch of the Olympics, in Welland and in Fort Erie, thus broadening their base as a regional orchestra. Another concert was given in Montebello Park, the most effective number again being the 1812 Overture. Small groups of players from the Symphony gave sixty In-School concerts in different regional schools, and a concert in the Niagara Falls Library was taped by cable TV.

The Symphony Chorus was also active, giving three concerts, the first of which, the ever popular Messiah, was repeated three times: in St. Catharines, in Welland, and in Niagara Falls. The soloists were Rose Bandi, soprano; Velmer Headley, tenor (both of the Madrigal Singers); Peter Giles, counter-tenor; and James Bechtel, bass. A second concert, on March 14, included performances of Haydn's Creation Mass and Vaughan Williams' Serenade To Music. In conducting this latter work, Mr. Atherton used the composer's own baton. The Cantata Choir ended the choral series with a concert on April 25th, performing the Bach Cantata no. 84, and Mozart's beautiful setting of Vespers. Soloists were Rose Bandi, Joyce Hunter, James McLean and Michael Tansley. All these concerts were accompanied by ensembles from the Symphony.

Very busy all year were the Madrigal Singers, who made a number of recordings for the CBC and performed at the Metropolitan United Church in Toronto, in the Fort Erie Public Library, the St. Catharines Library, St. Thomas' Church here, and at Rodman Hall. Other Rodman Hall concerts were given monthly from October to May by various members of the Symphony and Chorus. The string principals and two horn players also made a recording for the CBC.

Meanwhile, the Youth Orchestra, its various ensembles, and the Junior Strings were working hard. The Youth Orchestra held its usual three-concert series, the first being on December 7. In addition to three major numbers for full orchestra, conducted by Mr. van Dongen, there was one selection by the Wind Ensemble conducted by Mr. Purves-Smith, and one by the Brass Choir conducted by David Spence. The orchestra also played at a tree-lighting ceremony in the Pen Shopping Centre. On February 14, the orchestra travelled to Owen Sound and played two concerts, partly as a demonstration for the Georgian Bay Community Youth Orchestra, a new group just formed under the auspices of the local symphony orchestra, and the new orchestra was invited to perform the first number on these concerts, conducted by Edward Bartlett. The second concert on the Youth Orchestra series was an exchange concert by the Kingston-Waterloo Youth Orchestra. From April 21 to May 8, players from the Youth Orchestra took turns forming a pit orchestra for Garden City Productions presentation of Anne Of Green Gables, which they did very capably. On May 14th, two Youth Orchestra performances were given in the Collegiate, for the Lincoln County Board of Education. In the past, these school concerts had always been given by the senior orchestra, and those in outlying districts by the Youth Orchestra, but this year, by request of schools in Beamsville and Virgil, the Symphony played there instead. The final concert of the subscription series was given on May 16, and featured a Trombone Sonata by Marcello, with Paul Ballyk as soloist. Paul was a member of both the Youth Orchestra and Symphony, and played the previous summer with the National Youth Orchestra. Also on the program was the Laura Secord Secondary School choir, a fine group conducted by Thomas Inglis. The last half of the program consisted of a rendition of Vasily Kalinnikov's Symphony. This was an outstanding concert, as the young players gave their best in a farewell to their conductor, Paul van Dongen. At the close, they presented Paul with a statuette of a violinist, gave his wife a bouquet of flowers, and invited them out for refreshments afterwards.

Smaller groups from the Youth Orchestra gave several other performances: the string ensemble at Lundy's Lane United Church; at Central United Church, Port Colborne; and two concerts with the Grantham Secondary School choir; they also joined with the wind ensemble for a performance at the Main Library, Niagara Falls. The Series concerts were all held this year at First United Church, St. Catharines, as were most of the rehearsals.

Symphony House Music School has become one of the most active branches of the Symphony Association, and a special committee of the Board was set up to help administer it, under the chairmanship of first Bert Jarvis, and later Horace Beard. The large enrolment (144 in the instrumental program and 70 in the Orff-Kodaly program) overflowed the space available in Symphony House itself; some classes were held in space made available in Brock University College of Education, while local classes in Orff-Kodaly were given in Resurrection Lutheran Church, and those in Niagara Falls were held at the Stamford Lions Club premises. Instrumental classes were also given in A.N. Myer School, Stamford. The junior Strings met at St. Paul St. United Church once a week, under the direction of Philip Bass, the Symphony concertmaster, and Marsha Moffitt, principal of the cello section. A student recital was presented on February 1st at St. Paul St. United, and eighteen students took part. A second recital on June 6th included for the first time the newly-formed Adult Ensemble, under Sandra Sakofsky, playing the first movement of the Brandenburg Concerto no. 1. These concerts were followed by a social hour.

The many activities of all these different groups raised the Association's budget to an all-time high, and both the Women's Committee and the new Evening Auxiliary worked hard to increase their contributions. The main project of the women's group was their official centennial cookbook. Named "Centennial Symphony of Cooking", it was charmingly illustrated throughout with scenes from St. Catharines as it might have appeared many years ago; the artists were Dr. R. Fisher and J. McConnell. Dr. Fisher also donated the originals to Symphony House. Alex W. Ormston, curator of the Historical Museum, wrote an interesting foreword on "Cooking and Food in Early Ontario". Recipes for old-time favourites were sent by such people as Pauline McGibbon, Lieut. Governor of Ontario; the Prime Minister's wife, Margaret Trudeau; Maureen Forrester; the mayor, members of parliament, president of Brock, Headmaster of Ridley, and heads of organizations all over the city. Wintario gave a grant towards the cost of printing, and the book is now well into its second printing. The Women's Committee held their annual Jump-Up during Grape Festival week, and a mammoth Book Sale in the Fairview Mall. They were able to turn over $3500 to the Board, and expect more from cookbook sales.

The Evening Auxiliary took over the Christmas Wassail Party, held as usual in Ridley Great Hall. A Centennial Season Ball was held in January, and a Pub Night in May. This new group, under the leadership of Roy Lampard, a member of the Symphony Chorus, contributed a lot of fun and $1500 in cash; a noteworthy beginning. They hope to do much more in the field of public relations, especially with the orchestra and choir members. A warm welcome to these enthusiastic young people.

The main bulk of the budget, apart from ticket sales, which were good, has to come from grants, sponsorships and donations. The administrative staff and the Ways and Means Committee worked hard to keep pace with the rising expenses, but could not avoid a deficit. So various aspects of financing were among the subjects most extensively discussed at the Symphony Sit-in, which held what is hoped will be an annual meeting at the Ontario Mental Health Centre on the lakeshore, on March 27th. Board members, staff and volunteer group representatives, and representatives of the Symphony and Chorus met for a day-long talkfest, and discussed, at greater length than a Board meeting could allow, all the problems facing the Association. Everyone came home with a much better understanding of the workings of the Symphony and its subsidiaries, and a determination to work harder for solutions to its problems. It was Wallace Laughton who first had the idea of the sit-in, and he made all the arrangements, for the programs, lunch, and wine and cheese, all most efficiently. Judith Carson of Toronto was an unexpected guest. She was writing an article on our Symphony for the official magazine of the Ontario Federation of Symphony Orchestras, and came to get information and pictures. Practically the entire issue of the magazine was devoted to our Symphony, which they labelled "A Model for Community Orchestras". The editor of this magazine at present is the Association's own past president, Jack Edds, who retired last year.

The last activity of the year was the annual summer school. The previous year's session had been made up of a one-week beginners' program, a one-week intermediate, and a one-week senior program, but the first week proved to be the most popular and successful. So this year had two weeks for beginners and one week for intermediates, instruction being given in strings, woodwinds, brass, percussion and vocal. The school was very well attended, and among the students were a group of children from the Cape Croker Indian Reserve. Abe Manheim and other Symphony players had been working with this group for a number of years, and arranged to have them invited to the summer school. An excellent concert was given at the end of the session. A television crew from the CBC attended some sessions to film some of the classes, as part of a major presentation on the St. Catharines Symphony. Earlier they had filmed some of the Mahler concert, and had intended to do the last Youth Orchestra concert as well, but because of a change in personnel at the CBC, this unfortunately was missed. Later, interviews with Leonard Atherton, Betty Lampard and the author, and Charles Rowntree and Joe Taliano as the members who had been longest with the Symphony, were taped. The feature was shown on October 18 at 7 pm. We were all very flattered that the CBC should think our orchestra was worth a whole hour on prime time, and felt it was a good production, well planned to tell the whole story, and include many scenes of human interest.

This year, for the first time, the Annual meeting was held in the fall, instead of in June. It was felt that the financial reports could be more complete at this time. The search committee in charge of finding a replacement for Mr. van Dongen as Youth Orchestra conductor reported that Richard Grymonpre, a Canadian from Winnipeg who had been playing with the Houston Symphony, but had left because the players there had been locked out, had accepted the position. Mr. Grymonpre was well qualified for the position, having had much experience in working with young orchestras, and by a happy co-incidence, was also a viola player qualified to head the viola section of the Symphony, thus filling two great needs at once. He also had fourteen students waiting for his arrival at Symphony House. The report of the nominating committee having been read, it was accepted, and at the general meeting following the Annual, Stuart Glass was elected president, with Carl Wolff and Mrs. J.L. Rosberg as vice-presidents, J.H. Phillips as secretary, and T.B. Varcoe as treasurer.


The Executive focussed its attention on efforts to change our unwieldy organization, which had just grown like Topsy (from a budget of $42,000 in 1971-72 to one of $235,000 in 1976-77), into a properly organized and disciplined structure. A Planning and Development Committee was set up, under Bernard Meredith as chairman, and under it, a number of sub-committees covering all branches of the Association's wide-spread activities. Job descriptions were formulated, and written contracts signed, for the first time, with the St. Catharines Musicians' Union, Local 299. Finances continued to be a major worry. Grants from the Ontario Arts Council, Wintario, the cities of Niagara Falls and St. Catharines, made up 20% of the budget, earned services 40%, but that still left 20% to be raised from donors. Despite vigorous efforts by treasurer Terry Varcoe and the Ways and Means Committee and the help of Chris Mclvor, the deficit continued to grow alarmingly.

On the musical side, the picture was much brighter. The orchestra continued to improve, and attract more good players in consequence. The Youth Orchestra, after an initial set-back following the resignation of their conductor, Paul van Dongen, carried on well under the new conductor, Richard Grymonpre. Several new ensembles did excellent work. And, the Symphony House school continued to do a fine job in teaching our up-coming players. More concerts were played, and the fine work in the schools continued. As Stuart Glass said in his Annual Report,"! think we may with justice claim to have served the musical life of the Niagara Peninsula well in this past season."

The Senior Symphony played its usual series of four regular Saturday night concerts, each repeated the following afternoon, and held in Thistle Theatre, Brock University. The first, on October 16 and 17, had as soloist pianist Adrienne Shannon, playing Mozart's Piano Concerto in D minor. Beethoven's Symphony no. 3 was the other major work performed. At the November 27-28 concert, Daniel Domb played the Concerto for Cello and Orchestra by Dvorak, followed by Schumann's Symphony in E flat major. February 19-20 brought an innovation: a really modern composition called Fifteen Prints After Durer's Apocalypse, which the audience received quite well. Rita Wells was soloist in a Concerto for Bassoon and Orchestra by Mozart, and the orchestra played Brahm's Symphony no. 2 in D major. The final concerts, on May 7 and 8, featured the tremendous Symphony no. 7 in E major by Bruckner.

The Du Maurier Series, at the Shaw Festival Theatre, continued to be very popular. The October 31st concert naturally had Hallowe'en for its theme, with selections like The Witches Ride by Humperdinck, and Saint Saens' Danse Macabre. December 18 was a Christmas concert, with medleys of carols sung by Rose Bandi, Sing-Alongs of Christmas songs, and the Nutcracker Suite by Tchaikovsky. Spanish Night, on January 22, featured Javier Calderon, guitarist, and selections by Albeniz, Rodigo and Lecuona, besides the Carmen Suite by Bizet. Last in the series was a Viennese Night, on March 5. This began with Schubert's Unfinished Symphony, but the rest of the program was largely by Strauss (senior and junior). It seemed logical to have Elizabeth Strauss as soprano soloist. But she took ill, and Rose Bandi took over on two hours' notice, giving a masterly performance of The Laughing Song and Vilia, by Strauss, and Vienna, City of my Dreams by Sieczynski. No one would have known she had not been rehearsing them with the orchestra for weeks; the audience gave her a great ovation.

The Symphony Chorus gave its concerts in First United Church this year. Soloists for the first concert on November 7 were Rose Bandi, soprano; Joyce Hunter, contralto; Velmer Headley, tenor, and Michael Tansley, bass. Two Handel numbers and a Bach Cantata were followed by Handel's Ode to St. Cecilia, with Hans Kohlund, lute. December 12, the Chorus presented Berlioz' L'Enfance du Christ. Soloists were Terri Pothier, soprano; Larry Marshall and James Maclean, tenors; Harold Siebert, baritone; James Bechtel, Alien Stewart and Michael Tansley, basses. The April 24th concert had its major number Mozart's Requiem in D minor, with soloists Rose Bandi, Joyce Hunter, Velmer Headley and James Bechtel. Rose Bandi also sang Mozart's Exultate, Jubilate. The Chorus improved greatly in the past few years, and all these concerts were most enjoyable.

The Youth Orchestra also had a three concert series in First United Church. The first, on December 19th, had Mozart's Symphony no. 29 as a major work, the rest of the program being largely Christmas numbers. The orchestra had obviously not quite settled down under their new conductor yet. But by the second concert, on March 13, they had overcome their difficulties and gave an excellent performance of Dvorak's New World Symphony. Alison Blair did a fine job as soloist an a Flute Concerto by Quantz. The third concert, on May 15th, had Jean Langley as soloist in Beethoven's Violin Concerto in D major (first movement), a difficult work which she performed very well indeed. The rest of the program was mostly light-hearted Pop music - that spring feeling, perhaps.

A new departure this year was a series of eleven chamber music concerts at Rodman Hall. These were free concerts, and much enjoyed. They served to display the fine talents of many of our Symphony players: people like Sandra Sakofsky, oboe; Jo Ellen Harris, clarinet; Marsha Moffitt, cello; Philip Bass and Jerry Weiss, violin; Richard Grymonpre, viola; Eleanor Braun, flute; Marian Sebestik, bassoon; John Butler and Leonard Atherton, piano; and many others. We were happy to know that most of these people were teachers in the Symphony House program. The Symphony House students also presented some recitals. Twelve concerts were given in the new St. Catharines Public Library, four School concerts, and sixty-five In-School concerts by various quartets and quintets from the Symphony. Four concerts were also given at Ridley College.

The Symphony and associated groups played a number of unscheduled concerts on request. One, sponsored by the Ministry of Culture and Recreation, was in Toronto in a series of concerts called "At Queen's Park", repeating the regular concert of November 27-28, with cellist Daniel Domb. A woodwind quartet played at "Artathon", at the Pendale Shopping Centre. The Sinfonia and Madrigal Singers put on a Christmas Concert in the Victoria Playhouse, Petrolia. The Sinfonia joined the Lincoln Centennial Choir for an Evening of Music at Great Lakes Christian College, in Beamsville, with Rose Bandi as soloist. They also joined the Stanford United Church Senior Choir and the Harmony Singers for a concert in Stanford. Jo Ellen Harris, clarinet, played a recital in St. Paul St. United Church here, accompanied by John Butler. A concert was played in the Niagara Falls Public Library, and another in Niagara College in Welland, in their "Celebrate Canada" festival. So, during this season the orchestra well justified its claim to be "the orchestra of the Niagara Region".

In May, it was decided to put on a real "blitz" to sell tickets for the coming season. The help of Fred Davis, well-known star of radio and television, and director of the Du Maurier Council for the Performing Arts, was enlisted, and he conducted interviews with a number of guests, including Mayor Adams, the heads of the parks and recreation board, the Library, the Press Theatre, CHML, Hamilton, and Louis Applebaum, executive director of the Ontario Arts Council. Mayor Adams and Roy Davis, playing the baritone horn and trumpet respectively, gave a stirring rendition of When The Saints Come Marching In as a prelude to a concert by the Symphony, conducted by Leonard Atherton. Tables were set up and phones manned to take subscriptions, and forty new members were enrolled. The Symphony made good use of the media all year to advertise their various activities. Most exciting was a full hour documentary in prime time, on the CBC series "This Monday", produced by Brigitte Berman. The series showed a lesson at the Symphony Summer School, played excerpts from a Youth Orchestra concert, had some human interest shots of a family rehearsal at the Silverstein's, and a duet by the oldest members of the orchestra, Joe Taliano and Charlie Rowntree, a long interview with the author, which was used as a commentary throughout the production, and finally, excerpts from the Centennial Concert of the Symphony, featuring Maureen Forrester and Terri Pothier. Special programs were aired on CKTB FM on several occasions, and on a regular program every Thursday night from December to May.

The support groups worked very hard all year to help keep pace with the mounting expenses. The Women's Committee, under Mrs. A.C. Shaw, carried on with sales of their Centennial Cookbook, held a Craft Show November 12 and 13 in Pond Inlet, Brock University, and their Annual Book Sale in March at the Fairview Mall. They turned over a record $5300 to the Symphony, and $1000 to the Youth Program, besides establishing a $200 student bursary. The evening group put on the Wassail Party in Ridley Great Hall in December, and a Symphony Ball at Table Rock Hall, Niagara Falls, on February 11, besides a Pub Night at Brock, all of which were most enjoyable.

A number of major staff changes took place during the year, beginning with Richard Grymonpre taking over as Conductor of the Youth Orchestra, and as principal viola with the Symphony. Christine Mclvor, Executive Director, resigned at the end of May, to become Associate Director of the National Ballet School in Toronto, and was replaced by Ken Banks. Phil Bass resigned as Concertmaster and was replaced by Jerry Weiss as acting Concertmaster for the coming year. Peggy Lampard was appointed Youth Programs Co-ordinator, a new position made necessary by the growth of the musical training program. Committees were formed to represent the orchestra players and the choral group, with representation on the Board. Lastly, President Stuart Glass, whose timely expertise had been responsible for much of this organization, was obliged to resign after only one year in office, since a new job compelled him to leave St. Catharines, and he was replaced at the Annual Meeting by Vice-president Francis Sheehan. Mr. Glass threw a farewell party for Chris Mclvor after the meeting, and made her a presentation in recognition of her excellent service. We shall miss Stuart and Helen Glass, whose home was opened to us on a number of occasions.

The Summer School ran for three weeks at West Park Secondary School, with Peggy Lampard as co-ordinator. Nearly 200 students were enrolled, teachers were provided by the Symphony for all orchestral instruments, with David Marsden and Jo Henderson in charge of the vocal section. Three concerts were given, and a very successful season was reported by all.


In 1977-78, the Symphony continued to increase the number and variety of concerts given, its community involvement, and its outreach to nearby communities. All this activity required a great deal of careful organization, and kept Executive Director Kenneth Banks, and his staff at Symphony House, working long hours.

The Symphony played the usual four paired concert series, the first of which was, fittingly, a tribute to the memory of Bert Jarvis. A new composition was commissioned for the occasion by the Ontario Federation of Symphony Orchestras, with the support of the Toronto Arts Council, Forest And Sky by Toronto composer Norman Symonds. Pauline McGibbon, Lieutenant Governor of Ontario, honoured the opening night with her presence. A reception and dinner was held before the concert, in her honour. The soloist at this concert was Monica Gaylord, piano, playing the Beethoven Concerto no. 4 in G major.

The second concert, December 3-4, featured Lea Foli, violin; the program notes that he is the only Canadian to be Concertmaster of a major U.S. orchestra. He gave a very fine rendition of the Beethoven Violin Concerto. This was followed in January by the third concert, at which the soloist was Arthur Ozolins, playing Beethoven's Piano Concerto no. 5 in E flat, known as the Emperor Concerto. The last concert of the series had a quite unusual opening, a relatively unknown work by Handel, Concerto a Due Cori no. 3 in F major. Groups of woodwind and brass players, each made up of five players, were placed on either side of the string players and played in antiphonal manner, with a harpsichord holding the center of the stage. Another novelty was Benjamin Britten's Four Sea Interludes from the opera Peter Grimes. For those preferring more familiar music, the program closed with Tchaikowsky's Symphony no. 5 in E minor.

The four Du Maurier Pops Concerts were held as usual in the Shaw Festival Theatre in Niagara-on-the-Lake, which was well filled each night. The first program was "British Night", with works by Malcolm Arnold, Howard Ferguson, Butterworth and Elgar. Michael Tansley sang a group of Songs Of The Fleet by C.V. Stanford, and the orchestra also played a number called Four Welsh Dances, composed by Alun Hoddinott for the National Youth Orchestra of Wales. The second concert was called "Southern Accents", with Rose Bandi singing excerpts from Porgy And Bess, and Ron Simpson's "Dixie Allstars" joining the Symphony in rousing Dixieland selections and Maple Leaf Rag. Perhaps the most enjoyable number was Thomson's suite The River. Selections from Stephen Foster closed the program. The third concert was called Fire And Water, with selections bearing names evoking these elements: Music For The Royal Fireworks, Ritual Fire Dance, Siegfried's Rhine Journey etc. The final concert was the ever-popular Scottish Night. This featured, as usual, music for the pipes, including arrangements for pipes and orchestra. Joyce Hunter sang some haunting Hebridean folk songs. And at the end, the audience held hands and sang Auld Lang Syne. This program was repeated for several promotional concerts at shopping centers throughout the region, and at Niagara College.

Perhaps the busiest of all the Symphony groups was the Niagara Sinfonia, which not only accompanied the Choral Series, but gave a full group of concerts. This included four In-School Concerts, a series of four concerts all given at the Grimsby Public Library, Royal George Theatre in Niagara-on-the-Lake, Niagara College in Welland, and Ridley College in St. Catharines. One of these concerts was repeated at Stamford United Church, Niagara Falls. Another series of ten concerts was given in Rodman Hall on Sunday afternoons, then repeated at noon on Mondays in the St. Catharines Public Library. Two of these concerts were repeated in the Fort Erie Public Library, and one in the Hagersville Public Library. Soloists in these concerts included Jerry Weiss, violin; Eleanor Braun, flute; Sandra Sakofsky, oboe; Marsha Moffitt, cello; and John Butler, piano. There was also a delightful Christmas Concert for children at Rodman Hall.

Perhaps the most unusual concerts given this year were at the very end of the season. The orchestra, augmented by some of the best members of the Youth Orchestra, played a concert in the park in Welland in connection with the Rose Festival, having previously played an outdoor rehearsal at a Senior Citizens Home nearby. Then a week later, on July 1st, they played an outdoor evening concert at Fort George. The program included such patriotic numbers as Pomp and Circumstance, and ended with Tchaikowsky's 1812 Overture. The setting made this very effective, and the "soldiers" who man the Fort fired all the available cannons at the right moment - the flashes of fire in the darkness were very dramatic. Early in the season, the orchestra played in Montebello Park, St. Catharines, at the annual art show during the Grape and Wine Festival. This is the sort of community involvement the Association feels is very valuable. Then in June, the Ontario Choral Federation hired the Symphony for four days, to take part in their annual "Choirs in Contact" convention. Asked what was his happiest memory of the 1977-78 season, Leonard Atherton replied "hearing the 400 singers of the choir applauding our orchestra, and the orchestra's beautiful playing of Dona Nobis Pacem (Vaughan Williams) conducted by Elmer Iseler". He also mentioned the Madrigal Singers performance on the same occasion, and the orchestra's skill in both rehearsing and performing Beethoven's Emperor Concerto (with Arthur Ozolins) on the same day. The scheduled rehearsal the night before had been cancelled due to a snowstorm.

The Choral Series, also conducted by Mr. Atherton, held three regular concerts. The first, in First United Church, had Vaughan Williams' Mass in G minor as its major number. Soloists were Georgina Long, soprano; Susan Brinkman, contralto; Donald Shanks, tenor; and Bert Mathies, bass. Their second concert was the ever-popular Messiah. So many people wanted tickets for this that the concert was moved to the Brock Physical Education Building. Choirs from four district high schools joined the Chorus for this performance. Soloists were Rose Bandi, Joyce Hunter, Velmer Headley and Robert Freedman. This concert was repeated on December 19th in the Victoria Theatre in Petrolia. The final concert featured Mozart's Mass in C minor and an unusual number, the terzett "Tremate, empj, tremate" by Beethoven, a dramatic aria in which a husband sits in judgement on his wife and her lover. Soloists for this concert were Rose Bandi, Julie Wrycza, Velmer Headley and Robert Freedman.

The choir, now renamed the Niagara Symphony Chorus, sang for a CBC broadcast as well. The Madrigal Singers were also active, singing in several of the various library concerts and at Rodman Hall. They were invited by the Ontario Choral Federation to give workshops and mini-concerts at Choirs in Contact this year.

The St. Catharines Youth Orchestra gave its first concert twice, first in Stamford United Church, Niagara Falls, and then in First United Church in St. Catharines. They were assisted in this concert by the Harmony Singers, directed by Marjorie Slinn, music director of Stamford United Church. After two numbers by the orchestra alone, the choir, accompanied by the orchestra, sang a program of Christmas carols and hymns. The next concert was given at Brock Thistle Theatre. Conductor Richard Grymonpre had the exciting idea of featuring many of the first desk players of the orchestra as soloists in different works, and the audience really enjoyed hearing some of the talented young players in solo works. Among those who took part in this were: Susan Willson, clarinet; Diane MacKenzie and Stephen Moore, French horn; Janet Takata, Mary-Beth McCarthy, Alison Laywine and Catherine Lepard, violin; Elspeth Thomson, viola; Kevin Samson, trumpet; Laura Slinn, flute; and Jack Cuypers, saxophone. A preview of this concert was played in Corbloc the day before.

However, after this auspicious beginning, trouble appeared. Although Richard Grymonpre was a fine violist and teacher, and started out well with the Youth Orchestra, he seemed unable to get along with the executive, management or his colleagues. The Board finally decided, on the recommendation of the Youth Services Committee and the Personnel Committee, to terminate his employment immediately, while allowing his contract to continue its full term. This raised a storm of protest from some members of the Youth Orchestra Parents' Committee, who felt they should have been consulted before he was so summarily dismissed, or at least he should have been allowed to conduct the last concert, for which he had been preparing the students. The parents were also concerned about the effect of this disruption on the young players, who were just beginning to adjust after the departure of Paul van Dongen. Though they were eventually dissuaded from breaking away from the Symphony Association and trying to run the Youth Orchestra on their own, a number of members withdrew, and there were also resignations from the Board of Directors and the Women's Committee. Leonard Atherton was asked to conduct the final concert, and a good performance was given, which included the first movement of Beethoven's Fifth Symphony, and the first movement of the Mendelssohn Violin Concerto. The soloist for the latter work was Erika Enns, who was a member of the Youth Orchestra for many years, and who later graduated from Brock University with a B.A. in music. A search began immediately for a new conductor, the choice eventually being Tak ng Lai, a young Chinese-born native of Hong Kong.

On January 16th, a special meeting of the Board was held in the Mills Room of the St. Catharines Centennial Library, to discuss a name change for the organization. Finance Committee members, looking for donations in the neighbouring towns and cities where the orchestra and its smaller groups performed regularly, and from which many of its players and Board members were recruited, found that the name "St. Catharines" served as a real handicap. Since the Symphony claimed to be "The Orchestra of the Niagara Region", the name "Niagara Symphony" seemed more suitable. However, some members felt that giving up the old name might turn off some local donors. In the end, as a compromise, it was decided to change the name of the Association, but to leave the name of the Symphony itself unchanged. The Symphony Chorus, the Sinfonia and the Women's Committee, however, subsequently changed their names, substituting Niagara for St. Catharines.

No account of the Symphony's activities is complete without a report of its teaching program. This included individual instruction in violin, viola, cello, double bass, flute, oboe, clarinet, bassoon, French horn, trumpet, trombone, saxophone, euphonium and percussion. Group instruction included recorder, and an Orff/Kodaly Beginners Music Program with classes in north and south St. Catharines, Welland, Niagara Falls and Beamsville. Three student recitals were given, at which the Beginners String Ensemble and the Niagara Youth Wind and Brass Ensembles performed. Total enrolment for the year was 170.

In July, the annual Summer Music School was held, at West Park Secondary School. An excellent innovation this year was the Music Performer and Teacher Apprenticeship program, made possible by a Young Canada Works grant. The purpose of this program was to give students the opportunity to perform and teach, and thus help them decide whether they really wanted to make music their career. They gave concerts, built up a repertoire, and assisted with the Summer Music School classes. The Summer Music School, with lan Docherty as director, ran for the whole month of July, and was divided into junior and senior sessions. Faculty were players from the Symphony, the apprentices and teachers from the Lincoln County Board of Education. Recreational activities were supervised by two instructors made available to the school through the Ministry of Culture and Recreation Experience '78 program. Total enrolment was 307. Concerts were given weekly.

The Annual Meeting was held on June 19th, and Francis Sheehan was re-elected President. He reported that much work had been done to establish workable job descriptions and a clearly stated Organizational Chart. Arrangements had been made to rent computer time for bookkeeping, and the box office had been contracted out to Thistle Theatre, which would give better telephone service, and more accurate control of tickets. A Personnel Committee was established, and much work had been done to improve fund raising and to reduce the operating deficit. He complimented the Planning and Development Committee, under Bernard Meredith, for their hard work in producing a very comprehensive report. The change in the end of the fiscal year and the annual meeting back to June was noted. The Youth Programs Committee commented on the many changes in the current year, including the resignation of Dr. Phillips, a long-time and most valuable member of the executive who was replaced pro tern by Gail Sadava as Chairman, Wilf DeGrow's resignation as Chairman of the Youth Orchestra Sub-Committee, and Dr. Inglis' acceptance of this position. Two objectives were named: to form a self-regulating association of teachers, and to find them a suitable place to teach. Mr. Grymonpre was presented with an engraved set of silver tankards as a token of appreciation, and Dr. Phillips with an engraved desk pen set for his outstanding contribution to the Youth Orchestra. A contribution was also made to enable a former Youth Orchestra player to enter an international music competition.

The Women's Committee had four major activities. The Arts and Crafts Show and Sale, convened by Lucy McCarthy. This was held in Brock's Pond Inlet Room. Profits were $2100. The Book Sale at the Fairview Mall, convened by Bonnie Lepard. The Public Library donated many books, and in return the Committee gave the library a donation of $750. Total profits were $3191. The Wassail Party in Ridley College Great Hall, convened by Alice Schutz. This was sold out, and the profits were $842. The Symphony Cook Book was still selling. This year's profits were $898. In addition, the Committee, under the direction of Jean Phillips, helped set up and run the Orff/Kodaly Beginners Music Program, and generally assisted at Symphony House. Besides donating bursaries to Symphony House students, instruments for the Youth Programs, flowers for guest artists, and rights to the picture used on the Cook Book cover, the group gave $1000 to the Youth Orchestra and $6000 to the Symphony. The Evening Auxiliary organized three events, Novemberfest, Symphony Saloon and Casino Night, and the Annual Dinner Dance. A total of $2100 was raised.

It is always a cause for satisfaction when one of our students who came up through the Youth Orchestra and the Symphony achieves success in his professional career. John Langley, bass trombone, who went on from here to take his honours Bachelor of Music degree at the University of Toronto, and had been playing with the Kitchener-Waterloo Symphony Orchestra, was accepted this year as a member of the Toronto Symphony.