Vancouver Symphony Orchestra 100th Anniversary Symphony Ball, Vancouver
The Vancouver Symphony Orchestra took its annual fundraiser to new heights this year: Jan. 31 saw a fittingly fantastic soirée to mark the beloved company’s 100th anniversary. Founded in 1919 as a non-for-profit society, the orchestra has endured the ebbs (it disbanded in 1921 for financial reasons) and relished the flows (it boasted the largest subscription list of any symphony in North America in 1979-1980). It seems the VSO is in one of those flow moments, with a recently installed musical director, Otto Tausk, and some impressive performance and attendance stats: 150 concerts performed throughout Metro Vancouver last year with an attendance of 250,000 including – perhaps most importantly – 50,000 young people. This latest black-tie gathering, which benefited the VSO’s school of music’s education and community engagement, raised nearly $1-million. A benefit of being a beneficiary of the VSO? The chance, after dinner, to dance as the symphony plays. And dance guests did, among them: co-chairs Erynn Smith and Alexandra Mauler-Steinmann, VSO president Kelly Tweeddale and Deneka and Dennis Thomas, members of the VSO Indigenous Council.
The Canadian Film Centre Gala, Toronto
With 31 years under its belt, the Canadian Film Centre may be still in its infancy compared with the VSO, but its impact and influence when it comes to fostering gen-next screen-based creators is indisputable. Case in point, the Actors Conservatory, which was the focus of celebrations at the CFC’s most recent fundraiser, held at the the Ritz-Carlton Toronto on Feb. 21. The program, now in its 10th year, gives young actors the chance to hone their onscreen and auditioning skills and build up their confidence as they prepare to navigate the screen industries. A few handfuls of the program’s alumni and current residents were on hand for the festivities, among them Vivien Endicott-Douglas and Annie Briggs. Also out was Michael Jewison, son of CFC founder Norman, actor Charles Officer and CFC chief executive Slawko Klymkiw. Sam Drysdale was on performance duties courtesy of Slaight Music, and performing too was Ava Kay, an alumna of the Slaight Music Lab.