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TBSO Back to Full Performance Schedule

For tickets and more information, visit By Matt Prokopchuk



Superior Outdoors


“We’ve been waiting for this for two years,” Ryleigh Dupuis says of the Thunder Bay Symphony Orchestra’s scheduled return to the Thunder Bay Community Auditorium and other usual venues for a full performance season. The TBSO’s executive director and general manager says they’re really excited to be returning to a sense of normalcy with the announcement of the orchestra’s 2022–23 season. “We’ve been planning for this for two years and we have a really, really fun and exciting season that we’ve got, that we’ve just announced for everyone.” The onset of the COVID-19 pandemic and its accompanying public health regulations effectively kept the full orchestra from performing a full season over the past couple of years; the symphony performed a number of live small ensemble concerts and streamed virtual performances in the meantime. Dupuis says they’ve only been in the Auditorium twice since midMarch of 2020: towards the end of their 2021–22 season, they held an educational show with students from local schools, and performed with ex-Barenaked Ladies singer Steven Page. “It’s going to be exciting,” Dupuis says of the prospect of running a complete season again. The 2022–23 season will feature the symphony collaborating with a number of guest artists, like cellist Rachel Mercer and piano/ percussion duo SHHH!. They’ll also be performing with Thunder Bay-born-andraised flamenco guitarist Matt Sellick, playing the score to Back to the Future while the movie plays behind them (a first for the TBSO, Dupuis says), and holding the family show The Spirit Horse Returns, which, according to orchestra’s website, “provides young audiences with inspiring and age-appropriate explorations of truth and reconciliation.” The symphony’s Earth Day concert on April 20 will feature Florence Price’s Symphony No. 3. The season kicks off October 15 with a show featuring local powerhouse singer Nancy Freeborn. Dupuis says the TBSO is also very grateful for the support they’ve received over the past couple of years, when the symphony wasn’t running at full capacity, and effectively wasn’t taking in any revenue from ticket sales ($250,000 in grant funding from the Ontario Trillium Foundation’s community building fund helped offset that). The TBSO continued to receive funding from the city, Ontario Arts Council, and the Canada Council for the Arts, as well as its sponsors. “We did not lose any of our sponsors over the past two years,” Dupuis says. “Everyone stuck with us and supported us, and enabled us to reimagine how we would bring entertainment and music to our community.” With a new start, Dupuis says, comes a chance to set priorities, and she adds that focusing on local talent is at the top of that list. “We’re really trying to put local performers and local artists on the big stage,” she says, adding that, in addition to Freeborn, the TBSO will also be collaborating with Badanai Theatre Company, and focusing exclusively on local Indigenous artists in its three-concert Northern Lights series. “What we’re really trying to do is highlight our community and show who we are in a big way,” Dupuis says.