Ode to ASO

Music comes to us in times of trouble and the Alberta Symphony Orchestra hopes ‘Ode To Humanity’ will speak to us

The Alberta Symphony Orchestra (ASO) is imagining a way to reboot events and live performances, also exploring digital tools such as live streaming. They will be holding a special concert entitled ‘Ode To Humanity’ featuring their strings, due to health restrictions. As Emilio De Mercato, Chair and Music Director Alberta Symphony Orchestra Society, puts it, the piece has never been more poignant.

“Ode To Humanity’ is referential of the time we have been living since the COVID-19 pandemic hit Edmonton and the world,” De Mercato says. “It reflects the current global situation of people’s suffering. The idea is to remember, about one year later, the time when WHO announced the COVID-19 outbreak as a pandemic on March 11, 2020, and celebrate with a special concert the compassionate side of human beings, their united strength and resilience.”

On October 13, Edmonton Community Foundation (ECF) donated $10,000 to the ASO as part of the Government of Canada’s $350-million Emergency Community Support Fund to help charities and non-profit organizations adapt and increase frontline services to vulnerable people during COVID-19.

“The arts are playing an important role in helping our community cope with the stress and challenges during the pandemic,” Nneka Otogbolu, ECF’s Director of Communications and Equity Strategy, says. “We are all in this together and ECF is pleased to be able to support the ASO in the production of this very fitting performance for the times.”

Because of this, ‘Ode to Humanity’ can be delivered safely in a time when music is most important.

“The pandemic has affected our work, but not our dreams and vision,” says De Mercato. “We find great and continued motivation in searching ways to re-imagining, drafting, creating, re-adapting. We certainly do not give up. People look for solace in times of struggle and music is a big relief. It speaks to our hearts and minds and is an incredibly powerful tool that helps us heal, find relief, as well as motivation and courage. We need to persevere and continue to bring music to everyone, in every possible way and scale. Music feeds souls and is instrumental in the fight against alienation.”

While De Mercato is being positive, there are still some hiccups to iron out. The ASO has not identified a date for the performance, as it may be postponed to later in 2021. Fundraising is tough for everyone and the ASO is no different.

“ECF funding helped our cause by securing a significant portion of the budget for  ‘Ode To Humanity,’ ” he adds. “Thanks to the funding, we are closer to our goal and we feel more confident. We also hope that the funding from ECF will help us secure other needed sources of financial support.  We hope the new year will refurbish investors’ sources and enthusiasm.”

Learn more about ECF’s COVID-19 response.