Curtain closing for Community Concerts

The society which has been bringing music to Penticton for over 60 years is closing its doors.

For over 60 years the Okanagan Similkameen Concert Society, better known as Penticton Community Concerts,  has provided Penticton residents with top-notch musical performances, but the society is closing its doors.

Irwin Hobden, president of the society for three decades and more recently acting as past president, said the lack of a suitable venue after the demolition of the old Pen High auditorium  was a big part of the declining numbers that brought the society to a close.

Hobden noted there was no single cause for the society to shut down.

“Demographics change, the times change, but there was no single reason,” Hobden said.

The society would originally bring in bigger artists to smaller communities through the Columbia Artist Management Group in the U.S. The society estimates that through  the course of the 317 concerts put on, over $3.5 million was attracted to the area and Community Concerts donated over $50,000 in cash, sponsorships and complimentary memberships to the local community.

Hobden, who sits on the board for the proposed South Okanagan Performing Arts Centre (SOPAC), said that the society could return in some form when the venue is built. He and other SOPAC members view the performing arts centre as an inevitability rather than a proposition.

“It would return as one of the promoters of the performing arts centre, it could do that. But to operate as we are, no there’s no future in operating as we are now,” Hobden said.

Membership has declined over the years, mostly due to factors beyond the control of the society, Hobden said.

He said they foresaw disbanding the society about 10 years ago.

“But we never gave up. We’re really proud of the fact that we operated for 65 years. There are not many organizations that have that kind of record,” Hobden said.

The Alice P. Hobden fund, in memory of Irwin’s late wife, will continue to further opportunities for youth to attend concerts and further their education in music. Alice was one of the first members of the society and the fund will continue as part of the Community Foundation. Any money left over from the society will go into the fund.

The society’s final concert was held on April 7 with local artists at the Cleland Theatre.

“It’s a sad story in some ways but on the other hand it’s a success story,” Hobden said. “I don’t know of any other organization in Canada that ran successfully over 65 years.”


Just Posted

Penticton Youth Centre gains key resource

The Foundry health and social resources network will be setting up shop with the YES Project

Mayors Minute: Follow your passions to make a difference

Last week I presented at PechaKucha Penticton

Penticton Vees lose top scorer

Surgery required for Penticton Vees top forward

Smart Cities Challenge needs community support

What challenges could Penticton solve with innovative ideas and $50 million?

Businesses stepping up for SOWINS during holiday season

Several Penticton businesses are running campaigns to assist SOWINS

Video: En’owkin project gets $20,000 boost

The En’owkin Centre on the Penticton Indian Reserve is working to restore culture and habitat

B.C. government to launch coastal ferry review in January

The Province will begin a comprehensive review of the coastal ferry service in British Columbia in 2018

Federal Crown drops appeal after charges against pot activist dismissed

Dana Larsen said he was served notice at his home in Vancouver and the case was to be heard July 2

Prince Harry and Meghan Markle to marry May 19

Kensington Palace announced the date to the public Friday

#MeToo at work: How reporting sexual harassment works – and how it doesn’t

British Columbians have four options to report harassment or assault, but none of them are easy

Debt-to-household-income ratio rises in third quarter

Total household credit market debt grew to $2.11 trillion in the third quarter

Charges in car wash shooting stalled

Court waits for police watchdog report on Salmon Arm incident.

Oz brings down the house

Laughter flies like house in a tornado at Cawston Players Wizard of Oz

PART I: How Prince Rupert schools teach Indigenous language to hundreds of students

A multimedia series with videos and photos from children’s Sm’algyax classes on B.C.’s North Coast

Most Read