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Behind the Scenes: How to Build a Season

Welcome to the first ever Red Deer Symphony Orchestra blog! Even though we're only halfway through our 2023-24 season, planning is already underway for next year's concerts. This post will give you an idea of what goes into building an RDSO season, from brainstorming ideas to the full orchestra performances you see on stage!


A conductor directing an orchestra

The RDSO spends lots of time choosing music and constructing a season of concerts. We try to offer a diverse and engaging musical experience for our awesome audience while showcasing the talents of our amazing musicians. The process typically involves several key steps:


  1. Artistic Direction: The RDSO's Music Director, in collaboration with the orchestra's leadership team, establishes a vision for the upcoming season. This vision may include thematic elements, specific composers or genres, and a desire to highlight certain soloists or other guests.

  2. AV Committee: The RDSO has an Artistic Vision (programming) committee that includes musicians, board members, and other artistic stakeholders. This committee discusses potential repertoire options, taking into consideration the audience preferences and the ensemble's strengths and capabilities.

  3. Audience Engagement: The RDSO seeks input from its audience through a year-end survey each season. (This is your chance to tell us what we're doing well and what we can do better!) Understanding the preferences and interests of the community helps in tailoring the season to better resonate with you, the audience.

  4. Balance and Variety: The programming team strives to achieve a balance of music throughout the season. This includes a mix of classical masterpieces, contemporary works, and collaborations with other arts disciplines and venues. We want all our concerts to be entertaining and fun, not stuffy and boring!

  5. Guest Artists: Inviting guest artists adds diversity to the season. These collaborations can introduce new perspectives, contribute to the overall richness of the performances, and highlight some of the fantastic talent that lives right here at home.

  6. Educational and Outreach Programs: In addition to concerts, the RDSO plans seven unique educational and outreach programs to engage with the community. These initiatives include free performances, workshops, and many other opportunities to engage with the orchestra and enhance the organization's community impact.

  7. Logistical Considerations: Practical considerations, such as the availability of soloists and the orchestra members are taken into account. Additionally, the logistics of rehearsal schedules and venue availability play a crucial role in finalizing the season's plans. Many of our musicians perform in other orchestras as well, so scheduling can sometimes become complicated!

  8. Flexibility and Adaptability: The programming process remains flexible to adapt to unforeseen circumstances or emerging opportunities. This flexibility ensures that the RDSO can respond to changing artistic and community needs.


"The best-laid plans of mice and men often go awry." - Robert Burns

By combining artistic vision, community input, and careful planning, the RDSO works hard to create a dynamic and well-rounded season that reflects our commitment to musical excellence and community engagement. We love being a part of Red Deer's cultural landscape and enjoy crafting concerts that connect with everyone.


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