Bankruptcy Declared by 78-Year-Old Kitchener-Waterloo Symphony Despite Spirited Fundraising Efforts


The Kitchener-Waterloo Symphony, a venerable 78-year-old institution, has declared bankruptcy. The announcement was made late Thursday afternoon, following a series of unsettling events that took place less than a week prior. These included the abrupt cancellation of its upcoming season, and the declaration made by the symphony’s leadership that they required to accrue $2 million by Friday to evade insolvency.

In the wake of this unfortunate revelation, the symphony’s musicians, presently unemployed, initiated a grassroots fundraising campaign in an effort to salvage the establishment. The campaign was launched on the crowdfunding platform, GoFundMe, and within a day, it became the highest earning Canadian campaign on the site for this month. Despite this achievement, the funds raised fell short of what was required.

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Rachel Smith-Spencer, chair of the symphony’s board of directors, expressed their despair at this unfortunate outcome. She stated that over the last three days, they had extended appeals to all their key stakeholders and had left no stone unturned in their attempts to secure the $2 million required to sustain operations.

In addition to the GoFundMe campaign, the symphony highlighted that the community can lend a hand to keep classical music performance alive locally through support to the K-W Symphony Foundation—an independent body tasked with managing the long-term investments donated to uphold the cause of classical music in the region.

The press release reaffirmed that the foundation remains functional and will be capable of supporting any future endeavors to bring classical music performances back to the Waterloo region. Donations towards the cause can be made via Canada Helps.

Notably, the symphony, encompassing a little more than 50 musicians and approximately 17 staff members, held the distinction of being the largest employer of artists and cultural workers in the Waterloo Region.