By Laura McCaffrey
The COVID-19 pandemic has undoubtedly impacted all aspects of society and our day-to-day lives. But the impact on the arts community has been particularly stark. Performance venues were forced to shut their doors for months (if not years), artists have faced lapses in employment and financial struggles, and performers and audiences have felt the mental toll from a lack of connecting cultural experiences.
As we come out of the pandemic, it is critical that we come together to rebuild arts and culture in Ottawa to support the vibrancy of our community and the mental health of community members.
Long & McQuade, Canada’s biggest music store, has joined Carleton University and the Ottawa Symphony Orchestra to do just that. The organization has established the Long & McQuade Ottawa Symphony Orchestra Student Experience Fund, which will provide stipends to students participating in the Carleton University-Ottawa Symphony Orchestra (OSO) partnership – an artistic collaboration that will give Carleton students experience with intimate chamber ensemble and larger orchestra settings.
According to William Echard, assistant director of the School of Studies in Art and Culture-Music (SSAC-Music), this has been a challenging time for young artists pursuing education and careers in music. He says:
“The COVID-19 pandemic has led to financial strain for many, and it has also resulted in a major decrease in opportunities for aspiring musicians to rehearse and perform. Now more than ever, a partnership of this nature – and the opportunity that it provides – is priceless.”
Beginning this winter, students will audition for up to a maximum of five available chairs in the OSO. Players from the OSO will mentor and teach students, giving them the skills, experience and confidence to fulfill their own aspirations to become professional musicians. In this way, the partnership endeavours to create a pipeline of passionate young performers who will one day be integral to the fabric of the arts community in Ottawa. The Long & McQuade Ottawa Symphony Orchestra Student Experience Fund will provide funding for one student’s chair position for five years.
“Long & McQuade has a 65-year history of supporting musicians and music-making endeavours in our communities – from elementary school classes, to post-secondary pursuits, up to professional orchestras in major cities across the country,” says Sheri Katz, marketing and community support manager at Long & McQuade. “We recognize the need to help foster musical inclinations in students, and appreciate the challenges faced in sustaining a culture where music is valued by, enjoyed by, and accessible to performers and audience alike.
“With the establishment of this fund, Long & McQuade is thrilled to support students in their musical ambitions and assist them in experiencing what will no doubt be an impactful and inspiring collaboration with the Ottawa Symphony Orchestra.”
In addition to benefitting Carleton students, Long & McQuade’s involvement with the partnership represents a welcome investment in the future of arts and culture in Ottawa.
“We are so enthused to see Long & McQuade’s generous support of the Carleton University-Ottawa Symphony Orchestra (OSO) partnership,” says Mara Brown, director of the Carleton Dominion-Chalmers Centre. “The growing interest in and support for this partnership signals a commitment to arts and culture within our city, and a shared desire to invest in the vibrancy and richness of our community.”
At the Hub for Good, read more partnership stories, explore opportunities to get involved and learn how Carleton University makes an impact around the world.
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