In Sept. 30, Quebec announced the opening of concert halls to full capacity from 50% beginning Oct. 8*. This is the first positive development for the arts community since the pandemic began over 18 months ago, thanks to the continuing increase in full vaccination and to the vaccine passport, both of which La Scena Musicale has strongly advocated. See our new Industry Corner (p. 11) for more information on the opening.
Many organizations are adopting a cautious approach. Our Regional Calendar (p. 42) still shows many fewer concerts than we normally see, and it will take time for organizations to return to pre-pandemic levels.
In September, the SMCQ’s artistic director of 33 years, Walter Boudreau, announced his retirement, hanging up his red shoes to devote his time to composition. We hear about his favourite memories in Justin Bernard’s cover interview.
After a year off because of COVID-19, we resume our annual October special on Rising Stars with profiles of 11 promising musicians (pp. 26-29), along with our annual Competition Guide (p. 24). And in anticipation of the coming municipal elections on Nov. 4, we look at the arts policies of the Montreal mayoral candidates and the needs of the arts community.
As always we offer reviews of interesting recordings. Happily, this industry has persevered in the face of the pandemic. And we restart our Concert Reviews section (p. 38).
This October issue is the second of six (down from the usual seven before the pandemic) planned for the 2021-22 season (three in the fall, including October and November/December*, and three in the winter and summer including February/March*, April/May and June/July/August*). Three will be regional bilingual issues while three will be national issues (as noted above with *) with separate English and French editions. Our February/March 2022 issue is slated to be a special on the Restart of the Arts.
During the pandemic, we kept active with innovative projects such as the Corona Serenades, Corona Serenade Streaming Concerts, La Scena Tête-à-Tête, regular updates on COVID-19 and the arts and our regular news updates on our website. As a small dedicated team, we take pride in our ability to curate news and articles for our readers (consumers, artists and organizations). And we will continue this formula going forward including advice for musicians and students.
In the past, we have celebrated our major anniversaries (5th, 10th and 20th) with fundraising galas. Our Fifth Anniversary event held on Sept. 12, 2001 was the first concert dedicated to the victims of 9/11.
Our 10th Anniversary Gala theme was Best of Montreal, and our 20th was Rising Stars. Alas, the pandemic made an in-person event for our 25th anniversary celebrations impossible, but we are looking at other ways to mark our milestone. Stay tuned.
Subscription and Donation Drive
The pandemic has its consequences for publishing. Although we were able to bring back most of our staff through the Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy, this resource expires in October, when the subsidy decreases from 75% to 20%. Since our annual budget depends largely on advertising revenues (about 70% of which are related to concerts), we saw a decrease in advertising of 88% in spring and summer of 2020 and 50% in 2020-21. We hope you will consider supporting our magazine through a donation and/or join our fundraising committee by contacting us at [email protected]
Because of the pandemic, we have changed from street distribution to home delivery. Many of you are holding a free sample issue for the first time. We hope we have sparked your interest with our passionate team of writers and editors. To make sure you continue to receive the magazine at home, please become a subscriber or give a subscription to someone special. It makes an ideal gift for parents or an artist.
As always, La Scena Musicale maintains a vigorous presence on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. The website offers new resources almost daily. Pandemic or no pandemic, the arts will thrive. As will La Scena Musicale.
Have a great musical and artistic October!
* Ontario followed suit on Oct. 9 that concert halls will now be opened to 100% capacity effective Oct. 9.