Terrace Concert Society volunteer shortage jeopardizes future

Without more volunteers the society will fold, says former group president

The sounds of music could soon be silenced unless more people step up to volunteer for the Terrace Concert Society.

Past-president, and president for 20 years before that, Karen Birkedal says the society needs between 10 to 12 volunteers and currently only has seven.

Without more, the society will fold.

The volunteers who have been helping out have been putting in their time for many years and some have retired from it, she says.

“There’s not enough volunteers and we’d like some new blood, some 30-somethings,” said Birkedal, adding she became hooked on the concert society when she started as secretary and by default became president.

“If they still want the Terrace Concert Society to happen, they have to step up to the plate.”

Artists will only come if they can book at least three places to perform, usually Terrace, Kitimat and Prince Rupert, she said.

So the society works with societies in those cities to coordinate a schedule.

If the concert society here folded, it would affect those cities too, she said.

And of course, having performers come here helps out the economy in the money that goes to hotels, car rentals, restaurants that they need while here.

The concert society has been around for 55 years, longer than the REM Lee Theatre, she says, adding that the society wasn’t incorporated until 1980 but was around long before that.

Birkedal likes to present what she calls a “meatloaf” of performances in a season, a little bit of everything.

“There are so many talented people out there,” she says, adding that many performers who have been here in the past were Juno nominees and award winners.

“I don’t think there’s been a bad concert. They’re always good,” she says.

The society books concerts two seasons ahead while working with other communities – next season is already booked but volunteers are needed as soon as possible to help plan the 2017-18 season and the one after that.

“If you want to see it happening, come and join us!” she said, about upcoming seasons. The busy time for the society is now through June before everyone scatters for the summer, she said.

The audience numbers are pretty good and the tickets are great value for the money: six shows for $80 whereas on the Lower Mainland, it would be $65 per show.

People will volunteer to sell tickets at the door but people are needed to sit on the board and help make decisions about what groups to bring in, the media ads and more behind the scenes tasks.

Someone who has social media experience or graphic design experience would be great. Terrace Concert Society board meeting is set for 7 p.m. June 14 at the library boardroom and everyone is welcome.