Official, But Far From Certain

posted in: News

In this third instalment of our account of the society’s beginnings, we take up the narrative after the summer events that created the society.

The meeting of the newly named Valley Concert Society on August 17, 1983, successfully resolved all of the difficulties with their application for registration as a society. The Registrar of Companies in the BC government’s Ministry of Consumer and Corporate Affairs issued the society’s Certificate of Incorporation on August 31, 1983. The organization now existed as a formal entity.

This proved to be the easy part. Now began the hard work of making a season of music featuring the Vancouver Symphony Orchestra a reality. The next meeting of the board took place on September 26. It began by noting that the Constitution and By-laws had been approved and by discussing membership in the Abbotsford Arts Council.

The next item of business revealed the uncertainty with which they were dealing. Less than half the memberships needed to support this venture had been sold. There was an agreement that the society could pull out of their contract with the symphony by October 7. They informed the symphony that they would need more time. The symphony, for its part, agreed to go ahead even if the goal was not fully achieved, and they would be prepared to accept a reduced payment of $10,000 for the season.

Marjorie Nixon reported that 1000 notices had been mailed to the community. They had organized a phone blitz which involved sixteen volunteers working with 34 sheets each of which held 18 names. So far 237 memberships had been sold for an auditorium that could seat 700.

The last substantive item in the minutes consisted of a full page describing all of the various fund-raising ventures that had been or could be employed.

The board met again a mere eight days later on October 3. There was only one item on the agenda—how to sell more memberships.

By now the total had risen to 306. Their goal was 95% of the venue’s capacity which was 700. This was by now a remote possibility. The symphony had agreed to go ahead if they managed to achieve 450.

Until then the only option the society was offering was a subscription to the entire four-concert season. Now they began to consider that they might have to sell tickets to single concerts. They were concerned that people who had previously purchased a membership might be upset if they learned that single tickets were now an option, one that they might have preferred had they known. That led to a discussion of benefits for members and higher rates for single tickets.

It was apparent that they would have to ask the symphony for still more time before committing to the season. The remaining discussions centred on ways to advertise and on making revisions to the budget, but no decisions were made. They simply agreed to wait for further word from the symphony.

One can only imagine the anxiety mingled with hopefulness that the founders of the organization were experiencing. Thankfully, knowing as we do that the organization still exists and thrives, they also had a good bit of determination.

It is thanks to them that we can look forward to our celebratory 40th Anniversary Concert on Sunday, October 22, at 3:00 p.m. in the Matsqui Centennial Auditorium and to another five wonderful programs for which season subscriptions are available online at .

John Wiebe - President
The Valley Concert Society