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Posted: January 16, 2012

Symphony building towards a strong future

“Music is a wonderful thing to experience: No matter what type of music you like, music is able to get the crying person to find comfort and joy, or the joyful person to cry. It is highly emotional. It is to be cherished and experienced.”

Those thoughts are what drive Hans Dekkers, the new president of the board of the Symphony of the Kootenays. “Our region boasts incredible talent, as well as incredible potential, and I want to see how far we can go with that,” says Hans.

The Symphony welcomes Jane Davies on board in the marketing department. Jane is a marketing veteran, who has long served the Kootenays, working for the EKC and is proud to help expand the Symphony’s presence in our communities.

The planned April concert, featuring the stunningly talented Koreen Kawalec performing Chopin, has been shifted to the fall: the opening spot of the new 2012-2013 season.

With Johnny Reid coming into town on the weekend of the planned Chopin/Beethoven concert, the Symphony Board of Directors did not want to present the community with two major events in one weekend.

The board is exploring new relationships, both with the public in own community, as well as with different performers and musicians.

“We have to bring the symphony closer to home,” Hans explains. “Classical music performances have collected this ‘air’ around them, of hush, of silence, of stiffness, of exclusivity. This has to go. Why? Because it was never there. The music we call ‘classical’ today was common day entertainment when it was written. Often even pushing the limits of modern and acceptable.” Hans sees the need to ease things up, make it more enjoyable, accessible, and dynamic for all.

The Chopin concert will have Koreen take some time with the audience to share a bit about Chopin, about the concert’s history, and about the piece itself. New to the audience will be close-up views of the soloist’s performance captured by cameras strategically placed to project on a large screen.

The Symphony plays an important role in promoting the Kootenay region as well. It shows people considering moving to our valley that we have it all: From stunning outdoor scenery, hiking, hunting, and backcountry skiing, to Johnny Reid, Airshows, and Chopin concerts. It is very important to show the diversity of our community and helps build the Cranbrook and Kootenays reputation.

Hans welcomes input, and loves to hear from anybody. It is especially the younger generation that he longs to help discover what classical music can do for them.

“Music is such a wide playing field. I love what Leonard Bernstein said about it. When asked what music he liked, he answered: ‘I like good music.’ Well, depending on my mood and where I am at, I like Handel, and I like Rap. I can enjoy Dvorak, as well as Taylor Swift.” Hans hopes the Symphony will succeed in letting more people discover more good music.

Symphony of the Kootenays


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