AGM news …

MCO celebrates forty years with numerous concerts, events and friends

The Manitoba Chamber Orchestra managed to fit quite a bit into its 40th anniversary season — more concerts, more fund-raisers, more touring, more recording and, most importantly, more music lovers into performance spaces. All of this was accomplished while staying firmly in the black.

At its 2013 Annual General Meeting Wednesday, the MCO announced a balanced budget, which it achieved by making a planned draw on reserves. The organization has not reported a deficit in 17 years.

One artist in particular seemed to tie the entire MCO season together: Armenian-Canadian soprano Isabel Bayrakdarian was central to half a dozen projects. Starting even before the season began with two summer concerts, one at the Lyric Theatre and another at The Forks, Isabel also opened the season, recorded a soon-to-be-released compact disc with the Orchestra and performed at four concerts in three cities in Eastern Canada: at the Music & Beyond Festival in Ottawa, at the Indian River Festival in PEI and at the Elora Festival in Ontario. At the time of the MCO’s AGM, the fresh CD, on the newly-established MCOrecords label, was just going into manufacturing.

Attendance figures at MCO’s nine-concert series held their own, with 7,000 people filling Westminster Church in Winnipeg at over 85% capacity. Outdoor summer concerts introduced another 2,500 listeners to the MCO. Education and outreach programs reached over 7,600 young people throughout the province. Finally, 2,200 heard the MCO on tour out east and also in Flin Flon.

The MCO’s extensive education and outreach programs covered new ground this season. In addition to presentations in the Winnipeg area to educators, community groups, and schools, the Orchestra’s outreach group gave concerts in Snow Lake, Cranberry Portage, Grand Rapids and Gypsumville, as well as a special show at the Springwell Hutterite Colony. ‘Fiddlers on the Loose in the Library’ continued in seven Winnipeg Public Library branches, with 425 people attending these capacity spring break concerts.

In fundraising, the annual Heartstrings Gala Dinner earned a whopping 34% more than last year’s event at $41,000. The MCO kept things spinning at Vinyl Vault sales throughout the year, earning $6,800.

An arts organization celebrates with events and several extra special fund-raisers were held. Candlelight Evenings, one with regular MCO guest conductor Scott Yoo, another with pianist Janina Fialkowska, efficiently generated $11,972.

MCO’s Endowment Fund, administered by The Winnipeg Foundation, grows strong at nearly $1.63 million.

Overall, everything added up nicely, and the MCO heads into its 41st season with plans for even more music-making!

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