Thunder Bay Symphony Orchestra, So Many Good Performances to Enjoy!

The Thunder Bay Symphony Orchestra (TBSO) adds to the reputation of Thunder Bay as a regional centre for the performing arts in Northwestern Ontario. Locally known as the TBSO, the Thunder Bay symphony has been around for over 50 years putting on concerts that appeal to a wide and diverse audience from pure classical performances in their Masterword Series, to a mix of modern and popular music with a classical twist in their Pops series, and children’s concerts.

Going to a symphony performance can be an experience in itself. You will be especially delighted to know most of their major performances all take place in our Thunder Bay Community Auditorium, a professional 1500 seated arts centre considered “one of the finest in North America.”  The Orchestra also hosts performances at smaller venues like the Italian Cultural Centre on Algoma Street or the  Hilldale Lutheran Church.

Symphony banner

The 2013-2014 season is underway and is expect to be a promising one in follow up to last’s banner year. The Masterworks  series featuring the traditional symphonic classics this year include some of the most prestigious composers: Beethoven, Mozart, Vivaldi, Rachmaninoff, and Tchaikovsky. The highlights for the Pops concert series include Natalie MacMaster, Howard Cable’s Big Band Hits, The Best of the Eagles, Last Night at the Proms (conductor Brian Jackson) and The Piano Men (music of Billy Joel and Elton John, starring Jim Witter).

There are also ‘special’ concerts specifically designed to diversify, expand and secure symphony fans for years to come with the intention of bridging the gap between the popular and classical works. ‘Specials’ include a November 30th classically performed Pink Floyd concert at 8pm. (One hopes for lasers, a fog machine, and pot.) A headline troupe called, Jean’s and Classics from London, Ontario join the symphony to perform the entire compilation of Dark Side of the Moon.

Mozart and Martinis will draw in the young professional crowd at the Bight Restaurant on January 30 at 7:30, which is a partnership with Youth and Education.

Another ‘special’ is Brew and Beethoven at the Armory (317 Park Avenue, April 20 at 7pm). The symphony has partnered with the Sleeping Giant Brewery, and the guest artist performing is the amazing fiddler, Pierre Schryer. Other special events can be seen on the TBSO website.

The Thunder Bay Symphony Orchestra currently includes 30 full-time musicians. A few of our symphony musicians actually live in Thunder Bay, but two locals who haunt the local coffee shops, can speak for the others. They describe how eager they are to get back to work, not solely because they need the cash, but because they truly love the music, the stage, and their appreciative audience in Thunder Bay.

Tickets for a symphony performance ranged from $15 to $45, with pricing for adults, adults under 30 and students. If you are a local or a regular visitor, a subscription to a season pass will get the best ticket prices. With so many good performances, you can’t go wrong.

About Duncan Weller

A writer and visual artist, Duncan Weller is a Governor General's Award winner who lives in Thunder Bay. You can visit his website at His latest two books are a novel, Flight of the Silk, and an expanded edition of the award-winning children's picture book, The Boy from the Sun.

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