Not Victor Frankenstein

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Frankenstein is cool, but symphony is cooler.

Frankenstein is cool, but symphony is cooler.

Victor Sawa leaving the RSO

Article: Destiny Kaus – A&C Writer

While Victor Frankenstein is known for creating a monster, Victor Sawa is known for creating and performing beautiful music at the Regina Symphony Orchestra (RSO).

Though he’s been the music director at the RSO for the past 16 years, he will hang up his cool-conductor-stick-thing at the end of the 2016 season.

What? There are seasons in music? Apparently! Music season begins in the fall of each year. I didn’t even know this until now. I am enlightened.

Anyway, unlike some of the previous music directors who lasted at the RSO for 14 years or less, Sawa will beat them all out and end his career after 20 years.

This deeply impresses me. What a champ.

“He really wanted to mark 20 years with us, so we thought ‘Okay, let’s enter into a contract that takes him to the 20 years’,” says the RSO Board Chair, Terri Harris. “[We] kind of mutually agreed that that would be a good time for him to pass the baton with the RSO.”

Ah, that dang little baton. Well, in this case, “that dang massive baton” because Sawa’s musical director shoes will be extremely hard to fill.

Harris says, “It is a loss. Victor will be missed because he is such a vivacious personality.”

Though I’ve never actually met the man, I can imagine how much he will be missed, because, heck, who doesn’t miss someone with a vibrant, bubbly, cheerful personality no matter what the situation?

In my opinion, the RSO definitely has their work cut out for them to try and find a new music director.

“We hope to have a new music director in place by the start of the 2016/2017 season…so the fall of 2016; that’s our goal,” Harris says.

To me, this seems like a tough goal. Not going to lie, when I first heard this statement, I sincerely doubted that the RSO would be able to pull it off; after all, amazingly talented music directors don’t just pop up out of nowhere. Or do they?

Harris says, “The office has had calls already from across the world from people interested in the position.”

Goodness gracious, let me just scrape my gawking jaw off the floor as I try to comprehend the fact that people worldwide do actually want to come to Regina. And, while I’m at it, let me just erase all the doubts I had that the RSO could find somebody awesome to replace Sawa.

Though this all sounds fluffy and glorious, it doesn’t take away the fact that finding a new music director will be difficult.

“It’s not easy,” says Harris. “There’s auditions and a worldwide search for a new music director.”

Did somebody just say “auditions”? Sign me up! Oh wait, I guess the RSO does have some criteria in place; they need more than just a conductor.

Harris says, “We need somebody with the skills. Not only the showman skills and the artistic skills to be a wonderful conductor and maestro, but also somebody who can handle the administrative aspects of the job.”

In order to find this certain someone, the RSO will have to sift through a lot of applications and eventually narrow down the field over the next two years.

“At some point there will be applications received and then a short list of applicants determined,” says Harris. “And then, those people will be brought in not only for interviews, but to work with the orchestra and actually perform with the RSO.”

At this point, the RSO’s own committee, RSO musicians, the public, and various RSO stakeholders will be able to give their input on the auditioning applicants. Dang. Sounds like I won’t be able to audition. Dreams crushed.

Nevertheless, I really do hope the RSO finds a gem.

Harris says, “We also have to be optimistic and hope that we can find somebody who will help the RSO move into the next decade…to bring a whole new audience again.”

Change sucks. It’s not easy. But, it allows for something new and wonderful to be created. Dang, that’s deep.

Image: Emily Wright

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