Kelson Hall June 24, 2024

In late 2022, Kelson Group’s Founder and Executive Director Ron and his wife Rae Fawcett made a multi-million-dollar donation to purchase the old Telus Annex building at 330 St. Paul Street and redevelop it to suit the needs of the arts community. Today, the 20,00 square foot building, known as Kelson Hall, is home to the Kamloops Symphony Orchestra (KSO) and KSO Music School and Western Canada Theatre (WCT).

“Ron and Rae have been the biggest supporters of Western Canada Theatre and of the arts in Kamloops since I arrived in 2016,” expressed James MacDonald, Artistic Director for the WCT. “I’ve been so personally appreciative of their vision to build our city through the development of the arts, and particularly of their support in finding a new home for WCT.”

Christopher Young, Executive Director of the KSO and KSO Music School, is also grateful for the Fawcetts’ commitment to the arts and education in Kamloops, which has been a transformative moment for the community.

 “The vision for Kelson Hall aligns perfectly with KSO’s mission to bring exceptional musical experiences to everyone in our community. This new facility expands our reach, enhances our programming, and continues to inspire audiences and artists alike,” said Young.

Given its convenient location in the core of downtown Kamloops, Kelson Hall is a must-visit place for all music and art enthusiasts that are set to live in the City Gardens neighbourhood. In addition to rehearsal facilities and office spaces for the KSO and WCT, the building also features ample theatre spaces where anyone can come to enjoy outstanding performances.

Since its opening almost two years ago, Kelson Hall has become a hub for artistic excellence and community engagement, creating increased opportunities for artists to learn, rehearse, perform and connect.

“Since we moved in, we have expanded programming as well as classes available through our Stage One, Next Stage, and Hub for Creative Learning Programs,” explained MacDonald. “Through the variety of activities that WCT hosts at Kelson Hall, we are able to reach an ever-expanding group of artists and students who are able to learn, create, and connect at this beautiful, modern facility.”

Similarly, the KSO Music School fills the building with learning and music-making, thanks to the dedicated studios, versatile group spaces, and performance spaces for student recitals and masterclasses.

“We’re proud to host the city’s top performance piano, all made possible by a generous donor and the Government of B.C.,” added Young. “Kelson Hall has revitalized the KSO Chamber Players concert series and helped launch the Live at Kelson Hall series. Our educational offerings are also flourishing, featuring new initiatives like Summer Music Academies and the Children’s Chorus. We’ve also broadened our youth outreach with the KSO Music School’s Tiny Tots & Relaxed Tots performances, creating welcoming concert experiences for young families.”

Thanks to Kelson Hall, the WCT and KSO are now able to host artists from around Kamloops and across Canada, appealing to both community members and prospective residents of Trillium alike.

“Last year, aside from hosting the Memorial Cup and several WCT and KSO events, we were able to host the national conference of Canadian Theatres, where 150 people from across the country marvelled at the work that we were able to do, and the generosity of Ron and Rae in building the beautiful facility,” said MacDonald.

In the upcoming months, Kelson Hall is set to become the nurturing ground for KSO’s new Youth Chorus and expand their Early Childhood Music Education programs, aiming to meet the diverse musical needs of our community more effectively.

Additionally, the WCT has also got a growing roster of activities in the Hub for Creative Learning, a grand fundraiser for the fall, as well as plans for a series of events in the Lori Marchand Theatre to celebrate their 50th Anniversary in 2025.

“This new building will not only be a centre for all Kamloopsians to enjoy the arts, but it will also be an important venue to promote tourism, attract new professionals to our city, revitalize our city and downtown area, and serve our growing city for the next 50 years and beyond. I am so excited about the future of Kamloops and the Thompson-Nicola Regional District and having the arts as a centrepiece of our future,” remarked MacDonald, emphasizing his appreciation to Ron and Rae for their generosity and vision, and to the KSO for being such great roommates and partners in promoting the arts in Kamloops.

As we look forward to an exciting future, the vision of Ron and Rae Fawcett stand as a testament to the power of building community and the transformative impact of the arts. For music and art lovers looking to live at Trillium, Kelson Hall is not just a place to enjoy world-class performances but also a vibrant community space where the passion for music and the arts thrives.

Author: Mandy Curtis Post Date: June 24, 2024

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