Attendance is just not what it used to be for the Regina Symphony Orchestra.
“We planned what I considered to be an ambitious season,” said musical director Gordan Gerrard. “I thought people would be excited to get out and start attending this again but we haven’t seen the numbers that we thought.”
The orchestra returned with a full season of shows last September, something the program hasn’t offered since before the pandemic.
But the ensemble has seen an almost 50 per cent decline in attendance in both season subscriptions and single ticket purchases.
For Gerrard, the big question is: why?
“I think from what I can tell is people largely just got out of the habit of going out. There was a large time that we couldn’t go out and we had to stay home,” Gerrard said.
Mix in inflation and an abundance of entertainment options, and the orchestra has been left searching for answers.
In order to help save money, the orchestra has cancelled three shows coming up in April.
Season ticket holder David Hedlund said the city not having an orchestra would be a terrible loss after having the program for over 100 years.
“I sure hope we can push through,” Hedlund said. “We’re a small city with a full-size orchestra and I think throughout the whole history that has been a challenge.”
Gerrard said the orchestra has been speaking to other colleagues across the country for advice on how to move forward.
“We are taking a hard look at what people want,” Gerrard said, “what people are interested in and what we can offer responsibly from a financial side of things.”
The symphony plans to return in May with two shows to finish its season.
Gerrard said next year’s schedule is set to release in the coming months but will likely include fewer shows than this year.