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PEI Symphony AGM 2015 – September 15 at 6pm

PEISO logo

The Prince Edward Island Symphony Society will be holding it’s Annual General Meeting on Tuesday September 25th at 6pm, at Park Royal United Church which is located at 11 Christie Drive in Charlottetown.

Please come to the side door off the parking lot, not the sanctuary entrance – and look for the room on the right at the top of the stairs.

The agenda will include a review of the audited financial performance from the 2014-2015 season, as well as a set of proposed updates to the bylaws including proposed changes to the length of executive terms.

Anyone interested in the PEI Symphony is welcome to attend!

Concert August 2 with the Dream Lotus Choir

East meets west on Sunday August 2nd, with a performance of the internationally renowned Dream Lotus Choir with our PEI Symphony Orchestra at the Confederation Centre of the Arts.

Billed as a “serendipitous meeting of celestial music that speaks to our hearts”, this concert will feature the Dream Lotus Insightful Praises Choir of Taiwan along with key musicians from the PEI Symphony, all under the director of Taiwanese conductor Wang Tzu-Cheng.

Founded in 2001, the Dream Lotus Insightful Praises Choir began performing across the major cities of their native Taiwan from Taipei to Kaohsiung. As their reputation grew the choir ventured to Shanghai, Hong Kong and Singapore, and then across the Pacific Ocean to North America. Their performances have earned positive reviews globally, and their meditative and spiritual messages have succeeded in moving tens of thousands of audiences from all walks of life.Dream Lotus Choir

This concert will be presented by PEI’s Moonlight International Foundation, a local non-profit organization created for the purpose of relieving suffering to bring happiness to all. The Foundation regularly donates to food banks and the local Salvation Army, purchasing unmarketable fresh vegetables from local farmers, and in the winter new winter coats and snow boots from China. The Foundation also maintains and operates the Buffaloland Park and a farm sanctuary here in PEI.

Traditional Chinese music is the essence of Chinese culture, embodying its’ unique cultural and spiritual heritage. The music and lyrics of the Dream Lotus Choir are mostly composed by Master Zhen-Ru, founder of the Moonlight International Foundation. With all her work, Master Zhen-Ru seeks to inspire spiritual growth and unconditional happiness for people of different cultures. “I hope my music is like a bridge that brings cross-cultural harmony and peace,” she explained after her first successful concert here in PEI in 2012. Her compositions are richly expressed through a blend of traditional Chinese and western musical instruments, featuring beautiful melodies articulated by both the choir and instrumentalists; melodies that transmit a deep spirituality imbued with Confucian philosophy.

The PEI Symphony is honoured to perform with the wonderful Dream Lotus Choir from Taiwan, as part of their major North American tour this summer. The choir is also performing in Toronto and New York City. This concert is sure to be a key cultural event in PEI this summer.

All proceeds from this production will support the Moonlight Foundation’s activities and charitable causes. Tickets start from $25.00 with discounts available for students and seniors. Tickets can be purchased through the Confederation Centre of the Arts website and boxoffice.

The concert begins at 3:30pm!



PEI Symphony AGM 2014

PEISO logo

The Prince Edward Island Symphony Society will be holding it’s Annual General Meeting on Tuesday June 9th at 6pm, at Park Royal United Church which is located at 11 Christie Drive in Charlottetown.

Please come to the side door off the parking lot, not the sanctuary entrance – and look for the room on the right at the top of the stairs.

The agenda will include a review of the audited financial performance from the 2013-2014 season, as well as a set of proposed updates to the bylaws including proposed changes to the length of executive terms.  The AGM for our 2014-2015 year will be held in July this year.

Anyone interested in the PEI Symphony is welcome to attend either or both meetings.

An ‘awe full’ performance in April

“I like Professor Dacher Keltner’s definition of the word: “Awe is the feeling of being in the presence of something vast that transcends your understanding of the world.” Recent studies have reported that, of all the positive emotions, the experience of awe has the most profound effect on our well-being. Nature is a good source—there’s the ocean, the night sky, mountains, lightning, the northern lights—and art is another, whether visual art, dance or music. Which brings me to the final PEI Symphony Orchestra performance of this season, “The Passion of Sibelius.”  

Ivy Wigmore of our local arts paper The Buzz was at our concert last month at the Zion Presbyterian Church, to hear our Maestro Mark Shapiro lead our PEI Symphony Orchestra through a beautiful performance of Mozart’s Symphony No. 41 the “Jupiter”.   The packed crowd showed their appreciation with the first of two standing ovations that afternoon, on their way to the lobby to reserve their subscriptions for our 2015-2016 season.

As great as the Mozart sounded, our orchestra came back for the second act with a truly breathtaking, emotive and gorgeous performance of Sibelius’ Symphony No. 2 bringing the audience again to their feat for another ovation.   As Ivy explains:

“Standing ovations are so common these days that they’ve lost currency, but you can still gauge audience response from the speed with which people rise. This performance produced a fast standing O, people clapped hard and there were even some shouts. After the extended applause finally died out, a friend sitting next to me turned to say, “My heart is just pounding!”

There were tears in her eyes—and something else… I think you’d have to call it awe.”

Applause for the PEISO
Applause for the PEISO – April 2015

Read Ivy’s full review in the May edition of The Buzz, or online at

In memory of Dan St. Amand

Our PEI Symphony family along with the entire wider music community here in PEI is terribly saddened by the recent death of our trumpet leader and friend Dan St. Amand.

Dan. St. Amand
PEISO Principal Trumpet Dan St. Amand

Dan was an incredibly talented musician, educator, friend and mentor to so many and his contribution to our music community be greatly missed.

The funeral will be held in the chapel at the Belvedere Funeral Home on Wednesday May 6 at 10am, with a visitation Tuesday May 5, from 4 to 7pm.

In lieu of flowers, donations to UPEI Music Department would be appreciated.  A music student scholarship will be arranged in Dan’s memory.

Not only was Dan our principal trumpet leader for decades but he was equally important to the University of PEI Music Program, to music education here in PEI, the jazz scene and even a prized special guest for pop bands like Paper Lions and so many more.

PEISO Board Member and Orchestra Liaison Maggie Lillo has known Dan for many years:

“Dan’s contribution to music in PEI can’t begin to be measured. So many lives touched, so many students inspired, so many friendships forged and so very many notes played together. His loss leaves a hole in the very centre of our orchestra.”

Dan St. Amand performing with PEISO April 2015PEISO Music Director Mark Shapiro conducted Dan with the orchestra just a few weeks ago, as they performed a beautiful rendition of Sibelius’ Symphony No. 2.  Over the weekend Maestro Shapiro payed tribute to Dan’s great musicality:

“Heartbroken to learn this morning of the sudden passing of Prince Edward Island Symphony principal trumpet player Dan St. Amand. When we performed together in PEI just 3 weeks ago Dan looked great, and was luminous and upbeat. He played beautifully too, with vitality, depth of feeling, and a seemingly effortless technical control. Dan brought such a positive energy to PEISO. He was an ideal musical partner.”

Our principal clarinetist and recent Guest Conductor Karem J Simon also wrote very eloquently about Dan’s passing:

“A passionate musician, his commitment to each and every performance project was total. He mentored many young PEI musicians, including those at UPEI. Indeed, the UPEI Wind Symphony was among those ensembles that he absolutely cherished, taking on lead and subordinate roles as required. During his final performance with that ensemble his flugelhorn solo was compelling and captured the sorrow and anguish of Rufford Park Poachers.

And then, just a week later, his principal trumpet artistry, as a member of the PEI Symphony Orchestra, was critical to the heroic climax in Sibelius Symphony No.2. I count myself among those that came to know and love this kind, generous, complex, multi-dimensional man.

A pillar of the PEI music community, he will be deeply missed by his family, friends, and colleagues.”

Dan St. Amand with PEISO receiving standing ovation - April 2015
Dan St. Amand with PEISO receiving standing ovation – April 2015

Play Your Part! PEISO Indigogo Campaign

We are your Symphony PEI, and we need your support to keep the music playing.  It’s time to Play Your Part!

The Prince Edward Island Symphony has brought quality orchestral music to our province for nearly 50 years.  Four times a year our orchestra brings together sixty or more musicians including professionals, students, music teachers, business people and community members for an exciting ‘concert weekend’ to rehearse and perform a program of classical music that is appealing to a wide audience.

There’s nothing quite like the power, majesty and grace of a live symphony orchestra, and the PEI Symphony is the Island’s own.

Play Your Part, tile
Click here for our Indiegogo site

Now, we are asking for your support.  The past five years have been a financial struggle for the orchestra.  Increasing expenses, and declining donations and sales are putting the future of our orchestra at risk.

Please help us keep the music playing.  Our community needs the PEISO, and the PEISO needs you –  more than ever.

Just as each individual musician plays their part in an orchestra, we are asking YOU to play a part to help secure the future of our great orchestra.

What We Need & What You Get

We are aiming to raise a minimum of $15,000 to help us reduce our operational debt, to secure the future of the orchestra.   With an annual operating budget of about $170,000 per season, we have been between unable to break even for the past 5 years, and we cannot continue without at least balancing our budget.

We certainly appreciate the generous support of the Canada Council of the Arts, the Prince Edward Island Department of Tourism and Culture, and the City of Charlottetown, and also to our key sponsors including The Joan & Regis Duffy Foundation, Provincial Credit Union,  Hyndman Insurance, The Confederation Centre for the Arts, The Guardian, the Buzz, the Best Value hotels, Kwik Kopy, R. Birt & Associates, and Harvest Wholesale.

Even with their support, we need your help.  Unfortunately our concert expenses have been increasing over the last five years while our individual and corporate donations, and yearly subscriptions have all decreased.  In the last two years our individual donations have decreased by 50%.  We need your support to keep the music playing.

As a thank you for supporting our orchestra, we have a fun range of unique perks available, from a handwritten card from a musician,  an opportunity to play, or a sponsorship – there is a way for everyone to play a part!

Our Impact

Our orchestra has a huge impact on our community here in Prince Edward Island, and is itself a music community with a wide variety of individuals who either perform or appreciate quality orchestral music, and the joy of working hard together to create a beautiful live performance.

As a full symphony orchestra, the PEISO supports our cultural identity in Prince Edward Island and the greater Charlottetown area, at a level that’s commensurate with our status as a province and capital, and the birthplace of Confederation in Canada.

  • Cultural events such as our concerts engage and attract professionals, businesses and educated audiences to our Island and our economy.
  • Our audiences experience the incredible power and beauty of live orchestral music four times a season.
  • Our $170K annual budget is primarily used to purchase supplies and services right here in PEI, reinvesting in our local economy.
  • Four times per year we book twenty five hotel rooms for a full weekend for our travelling musicians.
  • Every concert attracts off-island tourism.
  • Charlottetown restaurants are busy during each of our four concert weekends.
  • Professional PEI musicians have the opportunity to perform with a full orchestra.
  • Young PEI student musicians have the opportunity to perform with an orchestra, as regular members and/or soloists.
  • Islanders experience talented guest soloists and our guest soloists experience the orchestra and our Island community.
  • Established PEI solo artists and groups have an opportunity to perform with a full live orchestra.
  • Island popular music artists and groups can have their music arranged for orchestra for other engagements outside of PEI.

Other Ways You Can Help

The best way to support our orchestra is to come to as many of our concerts as you can!   Our next concerts are Sunday April 12th, and Sunday October 19th.

Season Tickets will be available for purchase on April 12.  Please check back here for details, or call 902-892-4333.

Our annual ‘Serenade to Spring Dinner and Auction’, returns to the Georgian Room at the Rodd Charlottetown on Saturday June 6 this year.   Music will be provided by the Singing Strings. Tickets are $90 – and you receive a $50 tax receipt.   Come enjoy the evening with us and/or consider donating items for the auctions in return for a tax receipt for the value of your donation!

…and listen, perform, share, and get excited about classical music!  These are all the ways you can play your part!

No Pre-Concert Talk April 12 – Tickets at the door from 2pm

The PEI Symphony returns to the beautiful Zion Presbyterian Church for our next concert Sunday April 12th.

Under the leadership of PEISO Music Director Mark Shapiro, the PEI Symphony presents “The Passion of Sibelius”, to honour the 150th anniversary of the birth of the famous composer with a performance of his second symphony, along with Mozart’s Symphony No. 41 the “Jupiter”.

Please note, due to the rehearsal schedule for concerts at the Zion Church, the PEISO is unable to host a Pre-Concert Talk for this event.

Doors open at 2pm, and the concert begins at 2:30pm.   We hope to see you there!


Concert April 12 – at the Zion Church

PEI Symphony returns to the Zion Church for our grand season finale April 12th

On Sunday April 12th the PEISO returns to the beautiful Zion Presbyterian Church for the grand finale of our concert season.

PEISO Music Director Mark ShapiroUnder the leadership of PEISO Music Director Mark Shapiro, the PEI Symphony presents “The Passion of Sibelius”, to honour the 150th anniversary of the birth of the famous composer with a performance of his second symphony, along with Mozart’s Symphony No. 41 the “Jupiter”.

Originally scheduled for the Confederation Centre of the Arts, the PEI Symphony has announced that it has switched the concert to the Zion Presbyterian Church. According to PEISO President Dan Rowswell, the last few years have been challenging financially for the PEISO annual budget, and consequently the board is implementing plans to increase revenues and reduce costs in order to keep live orchestral music alive in Prince Edward Island. The PEISO has produced three concerts at the Zion Church to date, and audiences and the orchestra musicians have responded enthusiastically to the beautiful acoustics, and the intimacy of the musical experience. According to Rowswell, the orchestra also loves performing at the beautifully renovated Homburg Theatre and the PEISO appreciates the generous support of the Confederation Centre management team and staff for this change of venue decision. The Confederation Centre continues to manage ticket sales for this concert.

Composer Jean Sibelius
Composer Jean Sibelius

Jean Sibelius (1865-1957) was a popular Finnish composer of the late Romantic period. Growing up when Finland was seeking independence from Russia, his music was influenced by and then came to help define the Finnish national movement and identify. Initially influenced by Wagner and later by Bruckner and especially Tchaikovsky, he wrote seven symphonies and many other works including the famous ‘Finlandia’ which became the theme of the Finnish Resistance during World War II.

Composed in 1902, Sibelius’ Symphony No. 2 is arguably his most popular and most frequently recorded. Critics at the time remarked on its skilful orchestration where the “ideas of form are more mature and the violent Slavic gloom is replaced by a more classical touch and by the light of the Mediterranean”. The romantic and optimistic heroism were welcomed by the Finnish public in 1902 during a period of Russian oppression, and the composers’ national fame was secured after the first performance. In 1903 Karl Flodin described the work as:

“An absolute masterpiece, one of the few symphonic creations of our time that point in the same direction as the symphonies of Beethoven.”

One of classical music’s most famous stars, Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart (1756 – 1791) lived only thirty five years, but made a profound impact on all forms of Western music. An incredible child prodigy and adult genius, Mozart composed over 600 works including many of the most famous of all time, including his Symphony No. 41 the “Jupiter”.  The year it premiered, 1798 was not a happy time for the great composer, who was in serious financial trouble with the failure of his Don Giovanni opera. Still still in grief over the unexpected death of his infant daughter earlier that year, Mozart was worried about his wife’s health, his own, and his position within Vienna’s elite.  Nevertheless, amid all that worry and pain he found the inspiration over a period of only 50 days to compose three incredible masterpieces, his last three symphonies: Numbers 39, 40 and the powerfully joyful No. 41, easily one of the greatest ever.

This concert will be presented at the Zion Presbyterian Church located at 135 Prince Street, at the corner of Grafton Street.  Please note, due to the rehearsal schedule for concerts at the church, the PEISO is unable to host a Pre-Concert Talk for this show.

There are many ways to support the PEI Symphony and keep the music playing. The best is simply to buy tickets for each concert or a subscription series for all four. Subscriptions will be available for sale in the concert lobby, and online after the concert.  Subscriptions are only $50 for students and children, and $110 for adults and seniors, for all our concerts.

In addition, in April the PEI Symphony is seeking community support through a new crowd sourcing IndiGoGo campaign, appropriately entitled “Play Your Part”.

Finally, for all of us here in PEI living through winter storm after storm, come join our musical celebration of both of these joyful composers.  Finnish conductor Simon Parmet described Sibelius’ Second Symphony as:

“A song of praise for summer and the joy of life.”

And so it shall be!


Concert tickets are available at the door, or through the Confederation Centre Boxoffice, $44 adults, $40 seniors and only $15 for students and children.   For more information please call 902-892-4333.

Help us keep the music playing!


Thank you for considering a donation to the PEISO.  Ticket sales, fund raisers, and government funding account for approximately 65% of the PEISO’s operating budget.  We rely on generous contributions from our supporters to make up the difference.

Through the financial support of music lovers like you, the PEISO can continue to enrich our audiences each season, and invite talented musicians to perform with us. We are truly dedicated to making music accessible to all Islanders and your support makes it possible.

There are several ways you can help:

  • Adopt-a-Musician: Through our Adopt-a-Musician program, you can sponsor a particular member of our ensemble and see your money at work at our concerts. You will have the opportunity to meet your sponsored player at a reception after one of our concerts, you will be credited in our program, and you will receive an official tax receipt. Examples of “adoption” rates:
    Concertmaster $2,000;
    Section chair $650;
    Regular musician $550;
    Student musician $450.
  • Make a general Donation: Your donation will be credited in our program, and an official tax receipt will be issued.
  • Donate a Listed Security: Under the new Capital Gains Taxation rules, the capital gains taxes on an increased value of an investment can be avoided by donating listed securities to a registered charity, like the PEI Symphony Society, in return for a tax receipt.
  • Purchase a Corporate Sponsorship package and receive valuable perks for your staff and clients, and extend your marketing reach here in PEI to a very valuable target community, along with recognition as a patron of the arts in PEI and a tax receipt for the full value of your purchase.

If you have any questions concerning donations or our sponsorship programs, please contact our Administrator at 902-892-4333 or 902-218-1044 (cell).

You can donate over the phone using VISA or Mastercard, via Paypal (coming soon), or mail a cheque to:

Prince Edward Island Symphony Orchestra
PO Box 185
Charlottetown, PE C1A 7K4

Your donation will be credited in our program, and an official tax receipt will be issued.

The Prince Edward Island Symphony Orchestra thanks you for your interest and commitment to live orchestral music on PEI!

PEISO Fruit Sale 2015!

Yes it is that time of year again!   The PEISO Fruit Sale is back – fuel up for all the snow clearing work – and beat the winter blues by biting into a taste of sunshine!  Help support live orchestral music in PEI by purchasing some juicy naval oranges, or perfect pink grapefruit from us this year.

PEI Symphony Fruit Sale 2012$12 per bag of twelve oranges or six grapefruit, or pick up a half box $35 or full box $60 to really beat the blues!

For 2015 we are primarily selling from the Charlottetown Farmer’s Market on Saturdays, and also a few days at the Confederation Court Mall downtown (see below).

If those locations aren’t convenient and you have a large order, please call 388-6042 and we may be able to arrange for a delivery or a rendezvous time at our depot.   Our selling locations for 2015:

Charlottetown Farmer’s Market:

Our volunteers are at The Doctor’s Inn booth across from Island Taylored Meats, on:

  • Saturday February 7, 14, 21, 28 and March 7
  • 9am to 2pm

Confederation Court Mall:

Our booth is located by the TD Canada Trust and we’ll be there on:

  • Thursday February 26 and Friday February 27
  • 10 am to around 3pm each of these days

Fundraiser Depot:

On Brackley Point Road, right beside Greco’s Pizza and the Needs Convenience near the airpot.  The civic address is 180 Brackley Point Road.   Many thanks to Fruit Sale sponsor R. Birt & Associates for donating the depot.

If picking up your order at our depot is more convenient, please call Dan at 388-6042 to arrange a time.


To order by phone please call 892-4333 and leave a message, or send us a message to

For more information call Dan at 902-388-6042,
or Tian at 902-218-1044.

Thanks for your support!