City urged to make concert hall a reality

News that a performing arts/concert hall ranked near the top of a community’s wish list did not surprise members of Red Deer’s arts community.

News that a performing arts/concert hall ranked near the top of a community’s wish list did not surprise members of Red Deer’s arts community.

And now they want the city to start making the facility a reality.

“It’s encouraging to think the community thinks it’s important for Red Deer to have a performing arts centre that is independent of the college,” said Chandra Kastern, the executive director of the Red Deer Symphony Orchestra. “The downside is it appears to be pushed aside by council, which it makes it very difficult for groups like ours to envision where we fit in long-term planning in the city.”

In last week’s summary report of the city’s community amenity project, residents ranked a performing arts/concert hall No. 4 in the priority list, after more trails, a multi-use aquatic centre and a Bower Ponds expansion.

The list, built as a result of public consultation, ranked 148 amenities.

But a performing arts centre/concert hall appears not to be in the city’s plans until 2023 at the earliest — it is listed by city administration as a placeholder then, within the long-term plan.

But sometime early next year, city council will sit down in a workshop to discuss the results of the consultation and potentially tweak the priority list.

Coun. Paul Harris, who has been a strong advocate for the arts community, was part of a committee what worked on the city’s Cultural Master Plan in 2000 and the cultural vision update in 2008.

Harris said he plans to push the amenities discussion to an open forum, possibly at a council governance and policy meeting, so the public can hear the debate, understand the rationale and so the meeting is recorded.

He said the city spent a year asking the public what they wanted and in the order they wanted, and now it’s time to figure out how to make it happen.

“I feel very strongly that if we can’t address the Top 10 and figure out how we are going to move them along, we’re doing something wrong,” said Harris. “I don’t know how we move the concert hall along but I would suspect we have to start by defining exactly what it is that needs to be built … and the timing. Certainly it needs to be built within 10 years.”

Kastern said some movement is better than no movement and the logical first step would be to conduct a feasibility study for the concert hall. She would like to see a group such as an ad hoc committee through the city or community-based group.

The Red Deer Symphony Orchestra has been a staple in community for nearly 30 years with sell out seasons nearly every year. Kastern said they have limited access to the Red Deer College Arts Centre and there is no opportunity to expand the concert dates or seating.

She said there is no other venue in Red Deer that is acoustically appropriate and appealing to the audience.

“With no ability to grow, it’s really hard to envision where we go,” said Kastern.

Diana Anderson, Red Deer Arts Council co-ordinator, said she was thrilled to hear that Red Deerians want to improve the cultural offerings in the city.

“I am extremely thrilled that they see the need because we certainly do,” said Anderson. “Because the arts sometimes gets left out of things. To see it ranked fourth is astounding and wonderful.”

crhyno@bprda.wpengine.com

Just Posted

Big-time entertainers to perform in Red Deer during the 2019 Canada Winter Games

Musicans announced include Strumbellas, k-os, Brett Kissel

Builders say it’s not the time for higher permit fees in Red Deer

Construction industry is hard hit by slow economy

Bighorn Country telephone town hall for Red Deer area set for Wednesday

Residents can phone in from 6:30-7:30 p.m. to hear about the project or ask questions

YouTube revises policy, bans dangerous prank videos

SAN BRUNO, Calif. — YouTube is trying to prevent otherwise bright people… Continue reading

WATCH:2019 Canada Winter Games torchbearers announced

Sixteen torchbearers announced with others to be revealed during Opening Ceremonies

Liberal candidate steps aside after singling out Jagmeet Singh’s race

Karen Wang says she made comments online that referenced Singh’s cultural background

Alberta doctor accused of sexual assault asked to voluntarily give up practice

College says Dr. Barry Wollach should discontinue his practice, given the seriousness of the allegation against him

Speedy acceptance of Saudi shows refugee system’s flaws

Who would not wish Rahaf Mohammed well? The 18-year-old Saudi wants to… Continue reading

Hertl’s hat trick leads Sharks past Penguins 5-2

SAN JOSE, Calif. — Tomas Hertl needed just three games to get… Continue reading

Starring role beckons for Canada’s Alphonso Davies at Bayern Munich

BERLIN — Canadian teenager Alphonso Davies could be thrown in at the… Continue reading

Bus singer gives voice to Venezuela’s growing diaspora

LIMA, Peru — A year ago, Venezuelan migrant Reymar Perdomo was singing… Continue reading

Corey Hart to be inducted into Canadian Music Hall of Fame at Juno Awards

TORONTO — Crooner Corey Hart will join Canadian music royalty in the… Continue reading

Lucic, Kassian each score twice to power Oilers in 7-2 win over Sabres

EDMONTON — Milan Lucic and Zack Kassian each scored a pair of… Continue reading

Most Read