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on the scene

Vancouver Symphony Gala, Feb. 23, Vancouver

The Vancouver Symphony held the 33rd edition of its most important fundraiser on the evening of Feb. 23. Nicola Wealth served as presenting sponsor, and by night’s end north of $700,000 was raised, funds which will support not only the city’s beloved orchestra but also the VSO School of Music, the only school in North America to be closely connected to a major symphony orchestra. Last year at a virtual gala, the inaugural VSO Gold Baton Award, underwritten by Gold Royalty Corp., was presented to musician Paul Shaffer. This year, soprano Measha Brueggergosman-Lee and the legendary jazz pianist Oscar Peterson were honoured during the gala for their contributions to music. In attendance was Peterson’s widow Kelly Peterson, who accepted the honour on her late husband’s behalf. Ms. Brueggergosman-Lee, who just the previous week gave a pair of performances of Hector Berlioz’s La Mort de Cléopâtre at the VSO, delighted guests after dinner with a performance alongside the VSO. The orchestra, led since 2018 by music director Otto Tausk, performs upward of 150 concerts annually, predominantly from their home hall, the Orpheum, in downtown Vancouver, but also throughout Vancouver and the province of British Columbia. The 70-plus member orchestra reaches some 250,000 people annually, through traditional concerts of course, but also special programs for young people and concerts crafted with school-aged children in mind. On the night of the gala, following dinner, performances and an auction, the VSO, led by assistant conductor David Bui, served as the house band for a bit of dancing. Among those out: arts patrons Kerrie Sayer and Bruce Munro Wright, who chaired the sold-out gala; Vancouver Mayor Ken Sim and his wife Teena Gupta; gala committee members including Julian Scott, Katie Bennett and Feisal Dedhar, who also serves on the VSO board; additional members of said board including its chair Étienne Bruson and Dennis Thomas-Whonoak, who also chairs the VSO Indigenous Council; and, of course, Angela Elster, president & CEO of the VSO and the VSO School of Music.

Deneka Michaud; Dennis Thomas-Whonoak, director, VSO Board and Chair, VSO Indigenous Council; Jessie Willliams and DJ O Show.Vision Event Photography/Handout

Etienne Bruson, board chair, VSO, and Angela Elster, president and CEO, VSO and VSO School of Music.Vision Event Photography./Handout

Soprano and 2023 Gold Baton Award recipient Measha Brueggergosman-Lee.Vision Event Photography/Handout

Vancouver Mayor Ken Sim and wife Teena Gupta.Handout

Christie and David Garofalo, VSO Board, vice chair.Vision Event Photography/Handout

Kenn Hamlin, director, Community Affairs, Telus, and Jill Schnar, director, VSO Board, and chief communications officer, Telus.Vision Event Photography/Handout

Feisal Dedhar, director, VSO Board and Gala Committee member, and Katie Bennett, Vancouver Symphony Gala Committee member.Vision Event Photography/Handout

Co-chairs of the Vancouver Symphony Gala Committee Kerrie Sayer and Bruce Munro Wright, OBC.Vision Event Photography/Handout

Bill Allman, president, BC Entertainment Hall of Fame, and Kelly Peterson, widow of Oscar Peterson, 2023 Gold Baton Award recipient.Vision Event Photography/Handout