Bankruptcy has dawned on the 78-year-old Kitchener-Waterloo Symphony, marking the end, at least for now, of a once vibrant music institution. Desperation had already crept into the symphony’s management structure late last week when their upcoming season was abruptly cancelled and a plea for a rapid $2 million fundraising was announced. The intent was to pull the symphony back from the brink of insolvency.
In the face of unemployment, musicians touched by the impending doom galvanized into action, crafting a grassroots fundraising campaign to salvage their beloved symphony. The campaign’s momentum even propelled it to the top of GoFundMe’s highest earning Canadian ventures this month. Yet, sadly, their feverish endeavor fell short.
A deep sense of regret and disappointment pervades the symphony’s board of directors. “We are absolutely devastated about this outcome,” expressed Rachel Smith-Spencer, the chair. She underlined the tireless efforts over the past few days, engaging with their major stakeholders and exploring every possible avenue to gather the necessary $2 million.
As the symphony grapples with its bleak present, it simultaneously looks to the community for assistance to safeguard the future of classical music in the region. With a living pulse in the K-W Symphony Foundation, an establishment that manages long-term investments to locally promote classical music, the hope for revival isn’t extinguished.
Despite the symphony’s troubles, the Foundation remains afloat and stands ready to steward any future endeavors introducing classical music to the Waterloo Region. The Foundation, being a separate entity, is still accepting donations via Canada Helps.
The closure of the symphony, a cultural cornerstone and the largest employer of artists in Waterloo Region, stands as a sobering reminder of the vulnerability of the arts. With a team of just over 50 musicians and about 17 employees, their struggle echoes in the heart of the very region they’ve served with music.