I’m Jerrold Eilander, the Orchestra Operations Manager and Organ Curator for your Edmonton Symphony Orchestra. I like to joke that you only ever see me onstage if there’s a problem, but that’s true because I mainly work behind the scenes. That said, I have the best job, because for the last twenty years, I have had the privilege of working and playing with the talented musicians of your ESO on the Winspear Centre stage, virtually, and in your communities.
We want to continue playing music for you.
Your ESO is an incredibly talented orchestra, backed by amazing and dedicated staff. Instead of letting the pandemic stop us from sharing music, we took action. Since you couldn’t come to us at the Winspear Centre, you welcomed us into your communities: we played in your backyards, parks, and driveways. You joined us for ten days of music at Hawrelak Park when we presented Symphony Under the Sky – the first time the entire orchestra reunited onstage since the beginning of the pandemic. You supported us to ensure that music stayed alive in our community.
Your ESO did more than just community concerts. We launched Virtual Stage, offering you the chance to experience an ESO concert from the comfort of your home. We released free YouTube content featuring members of your ESO playing solos or in small ensembles. We offered Music Appreciation Online classes so you could learn more about the music you love. Whatever we could do, we did, and we did it for you because you showed us how much our music meant to you.
Now, we need your help.
The pandemic hit us hard. As an organization that depends on revenue from concert ticket sales, not being able to host performances at the Winspear Centre put us in a precarious financial position. Even now that we have welcomed you back to our home, limited audience seating means that concerts cost more than they recoup in ticket sales. However, we’re not giving up – we are thinking about our future in new ways, and we are excited for you to be a part of it.
In the past twenty years, I have never seen our organization change as much as we have in the last two. If I can promise you one thing about that change, it is this: your Edmonton Symphony Orchestra has and is setting new standards for what it means to be an orchestra. We are branching out, trying new things, becoming more accessible, and reaching out to you, our supporters, in new ways. We are breathing life and music into the Downtown Core. If there is a silver lining to this pandemic, it is that we are going to emerge from the pandemic stronger, and it’s all because of you.
If there’s anything we’ve learned from this pandemic, it is that music brings us together. When we put on the ESO Outdoors concert in Devon in August 2021, over 400 music-lovers flocked to Centennial Park to join our community in a live music experience. In fact, some attendees drove ninety minutes from Drayton Valley to hear your ESO play. After this concert and many others, you stayed to talk to our musicians and celebrated the beauty of connecting with each other through music. I will always remember the Devon ESO Outdoors concert, because it reminded me of why we do what we do: we bring people together through music.
The Edmonton Symphony Orchestra needs you to keep the music playing.
Every gift, every dollar, makes a meaningful difference for you and your community. Join me as a sustaining monthly donor and be our orchestra’s behind-the-scenes support – that way, we can share even more music. When you support your Edmonton Symphony Orchestra, your gift builds a community that understands and experiences the connective power of music.
Orchestra Operations Manager and Organ Curator,
Edmonton Symphony Orchestra
P.S. Become a sustaining monthly donor by June 31, and a $1,000 donation will be made to your ESO by an anonymous donor.
With your help, the ESS | FWCM hope to raise $1.7M in donations by June 30, 2022, with estimated fundraising costs of 7%, to support musical performances and education programs such as YONA.