In less than two years since the death of previous conductor, artistic director and CEO Robert Raines, the Brampton Symphony Orchestra has gone from being a local cultural jewel to being an unwanted outcast.

Robert Raines died in April, 2011.

Robert Raines died in April, 2011.

Toronto Star reporter San Grewal, who has been following the toxic relations between Brampton Symphony management and various people in Brampton city government, including mayor Susan Fennell, reported late Wednesday that the orchestra has been barred from any municipal venues, including its home at the Rose Theatre.

The latest move rose out of a dispute over who owns the Steinway concert grand piano at the theatre. Both sides claim the title, and the police were called in two weeks ago when the symphony tried to have the instrument removed, saying that the piano needed maintenance.

Even once the fog of invective clears, the fact remains that the Bramptom Symphony no longer has a place to perform and, consequently, is not likely to be able to complete its season. On Friday morning, its website still announced two upcoming concerts at the Rose Theatre.

Raines worked hard to build a close personal relationship with mayor Fennell — one that got the orchestra into the newly built Rose Theatre in 2006, ensured steady funding from the mayor’s annual fundraising gala and annual contracts for a core of professional musicians. In return, Raines and the musicians performed a lot of work among children in the community.

That community work is also in jeopardy.

The orchestra’s current CEO Michael Todd (who was board president when Raines was CEO) was not prepared to comment to Grewal, pending an upcoming board meeting. Brampton officials have maintained from the outset that they are not responsible for any of the symphony’s financial or scheduling problems.

You can read Grewal’s most recent article here, and follow the breadcrumbs backwards. It’s a powerful and painful reminder of how, no matter how institutionalized we think an organization is, survival inevitably comes down to maintaining good interpersonal relationships.

John Terauds

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5 Responses to Brampton Symphony Orchestra homeless as city bans it from the Rose Theatre

  1. This is a sad and most unfortunate story indeed. Would there not be a large church in Brampton that would be willing to see them through the rest of their season? I hope there is some healing and negotiating that can take place. Without a place to perform, the orchestra is all but dead, or so it would seem.

  2. Colin Eatock says:

    I don’t know what to do about the orchestra’s situation. But as for that piano, how’s about applying King Solomon’s justice by cutting it in half?

  3. Bramptonite says:

    There is no more Brampton Symphony Orchestra. All the orchestra’s musicians left over a year ago and formed The Rose Orchestra. They put on two shows, consisting almost entirely of paid ringers, and when they failed to pay most of them in May, they made it all but impossible to ever put on a show again… All this talk of “the BSO” since then has been entirely hypothetical. When people still root for “the BSO” they are rooting for a memory… which lives on today in the form of The Rose Orchestra. Check them out. :-)

    • shane wieler says:

      Rose Orchestra is on the verge of bankruptcy having recently been denied a financial bailout from the city in December after less than a year in operation. Can’t give tickets away. Poor leadership and no vision from the get go .

  4. Shane Wieler says:

    The quote attributed to me, Shane Wieler, on March 6, 2013 at 23:49 is fraudulent. I am a Director of The Rose Orchestra and the Rosebud Orchestra for youth. The City of Brampton and other have indeed provided considerable support, and the orchestra’s Brampton audience is rebuilding successfully. The Rose Orchestra is about to embark on its third season.