Down to the Wire

posted in: News

We left off our account of The Valley Concert Society’s beginnings with a meeting on October 3, 1983, which saw the board facing a monumental task with time running down. They had plans to present the Vancouver Symphony Orchestra on November 29, but they were short of money, had not sold enough memberships, and were asking the symphony for more time to make a decision about whether or not to go ahead.

The next meeting took place on October 27, again at the home of their president Paul Moritz. It was time for a decision—the planned concert date was a month and two days away.

The facts were laid out on the table. The number of memberships sold had risen to 352. Their goal was at least 450 for a hall that could hold 700. They had just over $18,000 in the bank. Thankfully the symphony had agreed to go ahead with a fee of $10,000 plus any additional revenue over and above the society’s expenses, a substantial discount over the originally agreed fee of $21,500.

The decision was made. The 1983-84 season would go ahead.

Now the practical details needed to be addressed. The cost of a piano supplied by Walter Podzelny was $160. Although they had hoped to sell only subscriptions to the full season, they now agreed to sell tickets for a single concert at the door. The cost would be $15 regular and $14 for seniors. Someone pointed out that there was still time to telephone people. Freddy Latham would order the printing of the Concert Programme and tickets. Volunteers would be needed for ushering.

The next meeting took place at the home of Freddy Latham on November 21, only eight days before the concert. Subscription sales were now at 437. Time was so short that it was agreed to deliver the tickets to purchasers by hand. Eileen Balden and Marjorie Nixon would be compensated for mileage expenses incurred in this enormous task.

Walter Podzelny provided a seven-foot four-inch Kawai piano, delivery and tuning included in the fee. He would receive acknowledgement in the programme. There was brief discussion of a call bell and “responsibility was assigned for ensuring the call bell was properly rung”. Last-minute advertisements in the newspaper and on the radio were purchased.

Paul Moritz advised the group that there would be a reception at his home for board members, musicians, and invited guests following the concert.

Sam Morrison took charge of the keys for the building, Daphne Clift would sit at the ticket table, and Marjorie Nixon took responsibility for the volunteers.

I am sure that the board was on pins and needles wondering how everything would work out. This anxiety was reflected in the fact that, with all the details looked after and assigned, the meeting was not quite over. There was another discussion about fund raising before it adjourned.

We owe an enormous debt of gratitude to these visionary and committed individuals for the forty years of wonderful music our community has enjoyed since this nerve-wracking beginning.

John Wiebe - President
The Valley Concert Society