In the Fall of 1967, during Canada’s Centennial celebrations, the St. Catharines Symphony Orchestra celebrated their 20th season with a splashy anniversary concert. For the 1969/1970 season, after 20 years of performances at the Palace Theatre, the orchestra moved to a new home. Thistle Theatre at Brock University became the permanent residence, but shows were still performed around the Niagara Region. The theatre at Brock was smaller than the Palace Theatre, so concerts were now completely sold out! With the move to Brock, the orchestra was able to establish a relationship with the fine arts program at the University. In 1973, Brock also donated the use of “Symphony House” to the orchestra for offices, meetings, and a newly formed Symphony House Music School, where symphony musicians offered private lessons during the school year.
During this decade, the school concerts were expanded in performance type and reached many more schools.
Two big events mark this decade. The first was the 25th Anniversary of the orchestra in 1972/1973. Leonard Atherton was introduced at this time as our newest conductor, and local trumpeter Stuart Laughton, of The Canadian Brass, was a guest soloist.
Only a few years later (1975/1976) the orchestra combined with the chorus to perform Mahler’s 2nd Symphony, presented in the largest gym at Brock because of the massive number of musicians, soloists and choristers on stage! This concert hosted an audience of 2500 people and Maureen Forester returned as a guest soloist for this concert, along with local vocalist Terri Pothier. It would be 40 years before the symphony performed this piece again, in the 2016-17 season. (Transcript to newspaper article)
As well as the regular series concerts, chamber concerts, and children’s concerts, a new series was added. There was now a 3-concert choir-orchestral series, to showcase the St. Catharines Symphony as well as the Symphony Chorus.
- Milton Barnes 1964-1972
- Leonard Atherton – 1972-1980
- The first full-time resident conductor
- From England
1967 $8.00 (student $3)
1976 $10 – $24 (student $6 – $15)
The subscriptions changed drastically by the end of the decade. With an increase in the number and types of performances, prices varied. There were also now a few different subscription options available for different combinations of concerts.