As I complete my second year as President of the Lethbridge Symphony Association, I am pleased to report that the 2017-2018 Season was once again a successful one for the Symphony, both financially and in terms of the variety and calibre of our concerts and programs. In addition to our Symphony Series and Symphony Extras, we also presented Kids Choir and Feel the Beat, both part of our Vibrations program. We are very fortunate to be blessed with an amazing number of very talented musicians who are willing to share those talents and their time with the LSO. I would like to thank all members of the orchestra for their dedication and commitment.
While the LSO may not be a fully “professional” orchestra, it is nevertheless a first-class orchestra that continues, as our Mission Statement says, “to produce memorable musical experiences for audiences of all ages”. Our success is also due to the guidance and expertise of our Music Director, Glenn Klassen. Glenn continues to draw out the best from all members of the LSO and other groups that collaborate with us, and I am pleased to report that we have recently renewed our contract with Glenn for another 5 years.
As you have just heard from our auditor, the Lethbridge Symphony had another good year, finishing the season with a surplus once again. This is the third year in a row in which the Symphony has had an operating surplus along with no outstanding debt. Like last year, the programming choices, quality of the performances, and hard work by the board and staff have all contributed to this success. While this is great news, like many arts organisations, we rely on government grants and the generosity of our sponsors and donors for much of our funding (ticket sales only provide about a third of our income), and we can never take this for granted. Many organisations have reduced funding and donations, and maintaining or increasing our donations remains challenging. Your board is keenly aware of this fact and is working hard at identifying and pursuing other fundraising opportunities. If you are willing to help in this area, please contact either Melanie or myself.
During the past year, the board also finalised and approved the 2018 – 2023 Strategic Plan. This information is on our website and I would invite you to take a look. There were four priority areas that were identified during the planning process, including Operations, Community Engagement, Human Resource Development and Financial Health. A number of action plans were put in place to support each of these priorities and I look forward to the continued implementation of these plans over the next year.
I would like to thank all of the board members for their work with the LSA over the past year. We have three individuals leaving the board this year – David Shefsiek, Lisa Weich, and Dione Overes – and I would like to thank each of them for sharing their time and talents with us. We will miss your insight and support. One of our ongoing challenges is finding committed individuals willing to serve on our Board of Directors, so if you know someone who might be interested in joining our board, please contact either Melanie or myself.
I would also like to thank Melanie Gattiker, Mary Opyr, Haley Neufeld, Erin Parker, and Amber Bley for managing the day-to-day activities of the LSA, and taking care of the many administrative details that are required. They all keep the office and the ticket office running smoothly and efficiently. We appreciate your service and commitment to the organisation.
Finally, I would like to thank all of our patrons and donors, large and small, for your ongoing support of the Lethbridge Symphony. Without your support, we would not be here today, and we sincerely thank you. We also thank the City of Lethbridge and the Alberta Foundation for the Arts for their ongoing support as well.
With the 2018-2019 Season about to begin, I look forward to another year of wonderful music.