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The MCO Announces Its Twenties Consecutive Year of Balanced Budgets

- by Kaitlin Aiello

The Manitoba Chamber Orchestra has completed its twentieth year in a row of balanced budgets, completing their 2015-16 season with a modest surplus of $15,798. This and other good news was presented at the AGM on October 19th.

Concerts and attendance

Attendance figures for its nine concert evening series at Westminster United Church grew sizeably over the past season, increasing from about 5000 to nearly 6500 attendees. Subscription revenues reached an all-time high. The 2015/16 series brought back many distinguished musicians and introduced some up-and-comers. Marc-André Hamelin opened the season with an electrifying performance of repertoire by Giya Kancheli; an online video from the concert has reached thousands across the world. Cellist Colin Carr, a long-time Winnipeg favourite, gave a stellar performance and the MCO’s charming Christmas concert with the Winnipeg Boys’ Choir and the Pembina Trails Voices Singers helped them to engage new audiences. Young musicians Emmanuel Ceysson and Lucie Horsch performed brilliantly on rarely programmed solo instruments (harp and recorder respectively). James Ehnes delivered his expected pyrotechnics in a thrilling spring concert that sold out, and the august Janina Fialkowska and captivating Isabel Bayrakdarian rounded out the MCO’s list of veteran guest artists. The MCO also added two matinee performances in April and May and revived their popular Beatles FAB fundraiser concert.

Outreach and education

The MCO performed for over 7,600 people through its outreach programs. Over a two-week period in June, the MCO ‘Fiddlers on the Loose’ travelled northern Manitoba by van and train to deliver music programming, workshops, and performances. They engaged youth and communities in Grand Rapids, Thompson, Churchill, Snow Lake, Flin Flon and Cormorant Lake. Earlier in the year, the Fiddlers performed for 75 people at Stony Mountain Penitentiary while ‘Fiddlers on the Loose in the Library’ reached another 308 people.


Overall, fundraising efforts were strong. Heartstrings earned $40,000, while its sold-out Candlelight Evening fundraiser with Colin Carr in recital, added another $5,500. 2015/16 was a unique year for the Vinyl Vault, which, thanks to renewed marketing efforts and the work of a dedicated group of volunteers, was able to quadruple its earnings from the previous season, raising over $17,000. MCO’s Endowment Fund, administered by be Winnipeg Foundation, received donations from supporters and matching funds from be Winnipeg Foundation and the federal Endowment Incentives Program. It now sits at over $1.8 million.

MCO Board of Directors

The MCO Board of Directors expressed satisfaction with the year’s results, and has turned its focus to the promise of the current season, which so far has included an eastern Canadian tour and recording with percussionist Dame Evelyn Glennie. The MCO also wishes to welcome three new board members beginning in the 2016/17 season: Coralie Bryant, David Christianson, and Amanda Evenson.

For more information please visit the Manitoba Chamber Orchestra at