Looking Back and Looking Forward


We had recently enjoyed a sublime performance at the piano by Charles Richard-
Hamelin. And then our season came to a sudden and untimely end.
I am not a superstitious person, but I could not help noticing that the ill-fated concert
which ushered in a new world of self-isolation and social distancing had been scheduled
for Friday the thirteenth in March.

On the morning of Wednesday, March 11, I was still assuming the concert would go
ahead, albeit with appropriate precautions in place. Before the day was over, the concert
was in jeopardy, and by the next morning, it was obvious that our entire world had
changed. I still marvel at the suddenness of that shift in our perception.
We have now completed the process of refunding ticket and subscription money to our
disappointed audience members. Many of you donated what you had paid to the society.
We thank you for that.

Had events proceeded normally, we would have announced our new season by the time
of our closing concert and encouraged the purchase of subscriptions for a new year of
music. Unfortunately, that is not possible this year.

That grieves me because 2020-21 was going to be a very special season for us. We had
planned an outstanding lineup of six concerts and added a seventh very special program.
The planning for this took place largely in the second half of 2019 while we enjoyed a
buoyant outlook based on substantial growth in our audience over the three seasons
before that. This has all been thrown into question now.

The board of directors met recently online to chart a path for the future. Our first concern
is for the safety of everyone associated with our concerts—audience, performers,
volunteers. Our decision-making is informed by the guidance from our government and
health authorities.

We will not be selling subscriptions this season. It is highly unlikely that we will be able
to bring a full season, given the uncertainty and the complications of international travel.
Tickets will be sold only for those individual concerts which we are able to present. It is
our fervent hope that we will be able to bring some programs. It is our intent to be as
flexible as circumstances permit. This means waiting as long as we can to make a
decision about each concert and being willing to make necessary changes, such as social

Over the course of the summer, I will share with you what we have planned for the
coming season while we listen for Dr. Henry’s plans for loosening restrictions on our
activities. In the meantime, we wish you all good health and well being.

Hoping to see you all soon,
John Wiebe
The Valley Concert Society