Chamber Music Kelowna is celebrating its 35th year of bringing exceptional artists to Kelowna. How it has grown from modest beginnings in 1979, when Okanagan College professor, Pen Yeh Tsao established the College Concert Series, providing an opportunity for Okanagan College music students to gain performance experience and hear professional live performances. When the Music Faculty closed in 1981, the series ended, but a small group of enthusiastic audience members were determined to continue on. Through the efforts of Mary Irwin, Mary Pooley, Dulcie Fry, Howard Reimer and others, three concerts a year were staged in the Okanagan College Theatre. Known as the Kelowna Chamber Music Series (KCMS), it was officially established as a Society in 1992. KCMS was now eligible for Provincial lottery funding, making possible a program of exceptional concerts performed by distinguished national and international touring ensembles. By the turn of the millennium, KCMS was presenting five concerts a year and audience members had grown to over 150.
As the Kelowna Cultural District began to take shape in the early 2000’s, the opportunity to become involved in its development was presented. KCMS worked with the City and others to help develop the Rotary Centre for the Arts. One of the first events to take place in the 330 seat Mary Irwin Theatre – appropriately named after a local founding member and cultural leader - was the first chamber music concert in the 2002 – 2003 series. That year the name was changed to Chamber Music Kelowna (CMK).
In addition to sponsoring great music, CMK has actively supported young musicians by providing outreach events for schools, other educational institutions and community groups. With generous support from the community, funding partners and sponsors, as well as exceptional musicians, and enthusiastic audiences, Chamber Music Kelowna has grown. Last year marked the most successful concert season ever, as every performance was sold out.
It is a privilege to be involved with Chamber Music Kelowna as it continues to realize its vision. Thanks are due to our hard working boards of directors, past and present, a dedicated volunteer group, and you, our audience.
I look forward with great anticipation to the celebration of our 35th musical season!
Chamber Music Kelowna 2014 - 2015