THE NBSO Early Years
We invite you to navigate through the history of the NBSO. In addition to an almost complete compilation of performances and guest artists; if you were a benefactor, patron, sponsor, donor, business supporter, advertiser, orchestra member, member of the leadership group, or 'friend' of the Symphony (volunteer), your name is there - for you are part of our history and our culture.
You will read that prior to 1977, a group of musicians formed a small orchestra that met at Christ Church Anglican on Greenwood Avenue, North Bay. Performances, were irregular and the number of performers involved varied. It was at this time that The Northern Musical Arts Association and the Continuing Education Programme at Canadore College spearheaded the efforts to create a community-based orchestra.
Contained within the Program Notes from the September 17, 2011 concert, are the reflections of Neil Kennedy, looking back upon the early years of the symphony:
There were, as might be expected, early struggles - but as you will see, they were followed by tremendous successes!
During this period, you will read that there were benefit concerts, changes in Orchestra leadership and creative funding initiatives. There were tributes to the Big Band and Swing eras as well as Broadway hits. Highly anticipated annual Christmas concerts evolved. Local performers were frequently featured. The show was even taken on the road! Did you know, for example, that the inaugural concert was held in Sturgeon Falls?
But you will also read that there were also financial difficulties that even the live-performance of the "Amazing Kreskin" could not magically wave away. Nor could the appearance of Michael Burgess eliminate this spectre (pardon the pun).
To the credit of the forward-thinking leadership of this community, in April 1985, the greater North Bay community – and the orchestra, were given the gift of a performance venue!