Fonds 1994 009 A;1996 010 A;1996 013 A - Nanaimo Symphony Orchestra

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Nanaimo Symphony Orchestra

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CA NCAI 1994 009 A;1996 010 A;1996 013 A

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  • 1950-1992 (Creation)
    Nanaimo Symphony Orchestra

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76 cm of textual records;photographs

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Biographical history

The first Nanaimo Symphony Orchestra was formed in 1910. This group amalgamated with Arnold's Orchestra in 1915 to become The Nanaimo Philharmonic Society. The Nanaimo Philharmonic Society's predecessor was known as The Nanaimo City Symphonettes after the cessation of the Society. The Nanaimo City Symphonettes were a group of students and adults from Nanaimo, Port Alberni, Ladysmith and Lake Cowichan under the direction of Band teacher, Mr. Martin Kushner. As this group grew, they formed the Nanaimo Symphony Orchestra Society on January 8, 1950, comprising 65 musicians under the direction of Band leader, Martin Kushner. They met at the Eagle's Hall. Board Members included President L.F. Spearing; Vice-president: E. G. Hopper; Secretary/Treasurer: Mrs. S.T. Donegan; Business Manager: F. Gullard; and four other Directors. The Society took over many responsibilities from Mr. Kushner, such as hiring halls, advertising, ticket sales etc. who had performed most of these tasks himself for the previous two years. The formation of a Ladies Auxiliary to the Society in 1951, relieved the Officers and Directors of The Society of many routine tasks. Other than a two year sabbatical from 1962-1964, Mr. Kushner continued as Director until 1968. Rehearsals were held every Sunday with 2 or 3 concerts being presented. Mr. Kushner's ill health from 1954 until 1962 resulted in orchestra members assisting with the direction of the orchestra. Heinz Killan, violinist, and John Getgood, oboist, were two who assumed this temporary position. During this period it was common to engage the services of professional musicians from Vancouver and Victoria. This practice was disapproved of by some members of the Society. Mr. Kushner was succeeded as Director in 1968 by Brian Gooch, who served from 1968-1971; Dr. John L. Lewis undertook the position as Director from 1971-1972. The Directorship was then subsequently filled by Edward Gibney, Thomas Petrowitz, Robert Cooper, Bruce Dunn, Ian Hampton, and Lloyd Blackman. Since its inception, the Symphony has included of all age groups and nationalities.

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Scope and content

The fonds consists of administration files, financial records, reference files, and scrapbooks documenting the activities of the Nanaimo Symphony Orchestra. Records include minutes of the society, correspondence, constitution and bylaws, presidents' files, publicity, membership and program files, financial records, and a variety of reference files and scrapbooks relating to the history and development of the Symphony. Reference files include unpublished manuscripts authored by John Cass on the history of the symphony. The fonds is arranged in four series: 1) Administration; 2) Financial records; 3) Reference; and 4) Scrapbooks.

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BCAUL control number: NCAI-133

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