Community calls on regional council to support revival of KW Symphony

There’s a big push from local musicians and fans of classic music to revive a long-standing organization in Waterloo Region.

At Wednesday night’s regional plan and budget public input meeting, support for the Kitchener-Waterloo Symphony (KWS) was out in droves. There were eight delegates advocating for the revival of the orchestra, with more observing the meeting and showing support in the room.

The KWS filed for bankruptcy in September after 78 years of performances.

Chair of the Kitchener-Waterloo Symphony Players’ Association, Barbara Hankins, was the first of the speakers, and she was met with applause when she announced there is active work happening to rebuild the organization.

“We are here today to let Regional Council know that the KWS Player’s Association, with the help of many interested citizens is actively rebuilding the KW Symphony,” said Hankins. “We ask for the region’s support throughout this process.”

A picture of a KW Symphony performance used in a presentation to council / KWS Players’ Association

One of the musicians, Rebecca Diderrich, presented alongside Hankins. When Regional Councillor Chantal Huinink asked how much money is needed to revive the organization, she didn’t have an answer.

“We don’t have a set number right now,” replied Diderrich. “We are actively working on reorganizing and restructuring. We only ask that you understand that our story is not done, and we plan on moving forward. We hope that you will support us as we do that.”

Despite no specific dollar amounts given, Councillor Doug Craig told one of the delegates that before any funding consideration, there must first an understanding of where things went wrong.

“Last year, I think the orchestra got $348,000,” said Craig. “I don’t remember any signs that something was going on that this would not continue on.”

Plenty of other voices outlined how valuable the symphony is to the community, and it was their last chance to so. Tuesday was the final public input meeting before the regional budget is finalized on December 13.

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