The Red Deer Symphony Orchestra is a community-oriented professional performing arts organization, dedicated to providing high calibre performances and educational experiences.
Igniting passion for arts and culture in central Alberta.
Who we are
The RDSO Board of Directors is a slate of talented, motivated and inspired members of our community. They volunteer their time to ensure that the RDSO continues playing beautiful music in central Alberta.
JAMIE L. SMITH, President
ROGER ADMIRAL, Vice-President
ANITA THOMAS, Secretary
KENDRA WALKER, Treasurer
We are always interested in getting to know our community, especially those in it who simply love performing arts. Giving to the RDSO can mean many things but one of the most valuable gifts is that of your time. If you're inclined to find out more about becoming an RDSO volunteer, please contact us.
The day to day operations, or "the magic" that happens behind the scenes, is orchestrated by a highly efficient team of dedicated people.
CLAUDE LAPALME, MUSIC DIRECTOR
JENNETTE MILLER, EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR
MORGAN DAHMER, EXECUTIVE ASSISTANT
ELIZABETH SCRIGGINS, LIBRARIAN
DEAN O'BRIEN, PERSONNEL MANAGER
How we operate
The Red Deer Symphony Orchestra is a Canadian registered charity and non-profit association in Alberta. Our fiscal and membership year runs June 1 - May 31, annually. The Board of Directors meets, at minimum, six times per year. The Annual General Meeting, to which members and the public are invited, is held the last Thursday of September, each year.
At the 2017 Annual General Meeting, it was agreed that the following documents be made publicly available on the Red Deer Symphony Orchestra website on an ongoing basis to demonstrate our commitment to transparency:
2020 Annual Report
2019 Annual Report
2018 Annual Report
The Red Deer Symphony Orchestra welcomes questions, comments or feedback on how we operate - please contact us.
Once upon a time in 1987, the population of this fair city was just under 55,000 and the Red Deer College Arts Centre had just opened its doors when a gentleman by the name of Howard Mar took his vision of a community symphonic orchestra in Red Deer, enlisted the financial support to the tune of $165,000 from Red Deer’s Royal Canadian Legion Branch #35, rallied his friends and fellow patrons of the arts, gathered a group of musicians both amateur and professional and... created the Red Deer Symphony Orchestra!
Dr. Alan Johnson, former head of Obstetrics at the RDRHC and the first president of the RDSO said of the beginning: “It was mostly Howard, really. As far as my involvement was concerned and you can quote me - I’ve been at many deliveries before but this one has got to be one of the biggest.” Mr. Mar was the parent; the community delivered and nurtured the creation.
There have been many changes in the last three decades: the population has grown and so has your symphony. Under the creative and talented guidance of Maestro Claude Lapalme, the caring guardianship of many, many board members and volunteers throughout the years, the support of numerous patrons, sponsors and funding agencies, the RDSO has matured from a community based, semi-professional orchestra to a fully professional symphony orchestra, employing union musicians. We have moved from a four-concert season with a budget of $71,000 and an apprenticeship program, to a seven-concert season with a budget of over $500,000 and a range of musical education experiences. Our community programs include the Dress Rehearsal program that is aimed at making the RDSO accessible to anyone, the Choir Kids program (where children in the Red Deer schools get a chance to publicly perform their songs arranged by our Maestro and played by the symphony); and the budding Music + Explorers program, which is an El Sistema-inspired after school social development program that uses music as a lever to engage socio-economically challenged kids in North Red Deer in creative and artistic activities that improve their quality of life.
Although much has changed, much has also remained the same. We are still run by a volunteer board that works very hard to keep the music playing. We are still financially reliant on the generosity of our local patrons and businesses. We still hold to the original vision of providing educational experiences with symphonic music for central Alberta. We still share the stage with amateur musicians, groups from around the area such as the Red Deer Royals, the Red Deer College Choir, the Lindsay Thurber Composite High School’s choirs, the Rosedale Valley Strings, Soliloquy, and the Red Deer Youth Orchestra.