The Friends of Music have announced that after their next concert on April 15, they will suspend operations. Their announcement says that “There will not be a 2018-19 concert season. Instead, the FOM Board will seek a new direction for the organization.” The problem was financial due to declining audiences and rising costs. Their demise follows on the heels of the shutdown of the Shelter Valley Folk Festival and Port Hope Jazz Festivals last year – although neither of these were Cobourg based, their audiences included a large number of Cobourg people. (The Port Hope Jazz Festival may yet be resurrected). To many, the thought that Friends of Music would shut down would be a shock since they have presented classical music for 43 years.
There are now recently arrived alternatives such as Les Amis Concerts and productions at the Loft so it makes you wonder if the total audience is dropping or if it’s spread too thin. The same audience probably patronizes the Operatic broadcasts at the Capitol from the Met but I hear that their audience is also dropping.
Some would make the case that the taxpayer should support “culture” like this but councillors in both Cobourg and Port Hope seem reluctant – especially if audiences are small and the organization does not pay most of the tab. Some hope that Cobourg’s Cultural Master plan to be produced over the next 12-15 months will tackle this problem but since none of the stated outcomes was a policy on what (if anything) should be paid for by the Town, this may not come out of the resulting plan.
There’s no doubt that Cobourg (and Port Hope) have a good range of performing arts but it’s always unsettling when a major source is lost.
Last Production by Friends of Music
The Weston Silver Band
April 15, 2018 at 3:00 pm
Trinity United Church in Cobourg
Tickets for this event may be purchased as usual; online ( www.friendsofmusicontario.ca), from the box office (1-905- 797-2295), in person at Victoria Hall in Cobourg (service charge added) or at the door. Adults $46, Youth 21 and under are Free. LJYO special pricing – call the box office.
- Work on Cultural Plan Starts – 31 March 2018
- Friends of Music web site with their announcement
- Is this the last year for the Shelter Valley Folk Festival – 15 June 2017
- Cobourg Internet’s Entertainment Calendar