30th Annual Vancouver Symphony Ball, Vancouver
The Vancouver Symphony Orchestra, which last year celebrated its 100th anniversary, recently marked another milestone on Feb. 6: the 30th anniversary of the Symphony Ball, a beloved annual social gathering and the organization’s most important fundraiser. The black tie to-do, presented by Nicola Wealth and co-chaired by Alexandra Mauler-Steinmann and Barbara Klebanoff, was under the direction of maestro Otto Tausk, who has held the position of music director at the VSO since 2018 (though this latest marked his first Symphony Ball).
Tausk also serves as artistic adviser of the VSO School of Music, which is among the Symphony’s initiatives set to benefit from the more than $790,000 raised during the evening. Founded in 2003, the VSO School of Music engages people from three months old to those older than 80, providing programs that cover a broad range of musical genres. They include Girls Brass Day, which is for brass-playing high school students who identify as women or gender non-binary, and Health and Injury Prevention for Musicians, a program that promotes the health of music-makers. Funds from the evening will also be directed to community engagement initiatives that aim to further expand the reach of the organization, which already boasts a remarkable annual attendance of more that 250,000, including about 50,000 children and young adults.
The sold-out flamenco-themed gala, held at the Vancouver Convention Centre, was – as expected – music-filled, kicking off with cocktails as the Sinfonietta String Ensemble from the VSO School of Music performed, followed by dinner and a mini-concert with Rihab Chaieb as soloist, conducted by Tausk. Later, dancing capped things off, with music courtesy of members from the VSO, conducted by William Rowson to help the big givers in attendance cut a rug.
Among those out taking it all in: Étienne Bruson, chair of the VSO board of directors and managing partner at Deloitte, there with wife, Anny Morissette; deputy mayor of Vancouver Lisa Dominato; Goldcorp Inc. president and CEO David Garofalo and his wife, Christie; Kingswood Properties Ltd. president Lorne Segal and his wife, Melita; real-estate developer David McLean and his wife, Brenda; and of course, Angela Elster, president and CEO of the VSO and VSO School of Music.