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Rocky Mountain Symphony Society

Founded in June 2016, the Rocky Mountain Symphony Orchestra is a touring ensemble, dedicated to performing accessible concerts in the small towns & cities surrounding Calgary. Led by Music Director, Carlos Foggin (2019 Compelling Calgarian), the Orchestra has grown from an audience base of 2,500 in their first season to nearly 10,000. In 2019-20, the RMSO will perform 16 concerts.

Our Story

Why We Exist

Imagine a family farm in southern Alberta. There are pigs, chickens, cattle, sheep, even a few horses. The family works hard, and is happy.  The 3 children have diverse interests including sports, music, art, horsemanship, and more. They all take piano lessons with a neighbour.  One day, the piano teacher informs the mother that the eldest child should find a new teacher, as his talent needs an expert teacher to guide it and develop it.

The mother enrols her eldest child in the Conservatory at the University of Lethbridge, and the lessons would continue for 10 years.

Small Town Mindset

In small towns, there are two cliché ways to get off the farm, either become a Doctor, or go to Law School. If you don’t possess that sort of acumen, you stay on the farm and take it over.  Of course, the eldest son was pushed by well-meaning friends and advisors toward medicine or law (despite an obvious musical talent).  In a small town, there are no professional musicians, and one simply wouldn’t waste a good mind on a hobby!

Fast forward a few years – that eldest son is now 25 years old, and a friend has finally invited him to experience a live symphony orchestra for the first time. Eventually at age 31, he re-enrols in a University Music Program, and flies through the program of studies.

You might ask, “why would this young man find himself at age 25, never having had the opportunity to hear a Symphony Orchestra, not even once?”

Well, the answer is quite simple. He never had an easy, affordable, chance to hear one.

Had that little boy heard the orchestra in his youth, would he have gone straight to music school, rather than wasting 13 years? Possibly.

Where would he be now?


That little boy – he is now our Music Director and Conductor.  In 2019, the Calgary Herald named him as one of the Compelling Calgarians – in recognition of his work to bring accessible performances to ALL Albertans.

At the RMSO, we believe that inspiration and encouragement, especially of our young people, cannot happen too early.  Inspired by our Music Director’s experience, we want to help every Albertan have the opportunity to hear a live symphony orchestra at least once!

Our Impact

What We Do

In their first three seasons, the RMSO has played over 30 concerts, including three major outdoor Canada Day events at Spruce Meadows.  The first season saw the orchestra impact over 2,500 attendees, the second, close to 4,000; the third season, over 7,500 Albertans were able to experience live orchestral music in their own town.

Our Programs

How We Do It

We love to involve local musicians and local choirs. What an experience for a local children’s choir to perform with a live symphony orchestra! We rotate the opportunity between communities, with performances from local groups from Okotoks and Strathmore in our first two seasons.  All of our soloists are locals, or have local connections.  We believe in showcasing the wonderful local talent we have right here!

Our Musicians are our lifeblood.  Without a dedicated core of players, a Symphony ceases to exist. Our players come from many walks of life.  Some are professional musicians, many are teachers, others are professionals in the medical, legal, and accounting fields.  We have University professors, lab assistants, students, mechanics, plumbers, police officers, and EMT’s.

We are all united by a desire to not only make wonderful music amongst ourselves (collegiality is important, but not our primary goal), but, more importantly, but a desire to ensure accessibility of the great masterworks written for the Symphony Orchestra for all Albertans, regardless of geography, socio-economic status, and age.

Our budget is made up primarily of ticket sales, private donations, and limited government and foundational support.  As we expand our programs, we will be in greater need of financial and in-kind support to sustain our mission.

Our Requests

What You Can Do

There is a near endless list of ways to Support a Symphony Orchestra.

  • Firstly, attend a concert!  Your ticket will help pay the musicians for their time, help us rent venues, pay SOCAN and other fees, and cover our insurance.
  • Secondly, help spread the word!  Let people know about our mission.
  • Thirdly, volunteer your time.
    • Box Office
    • Concert Front-of-House & Ushers
    • Fundraising initiatives
    • Venue setup, concessions, and raising awareness in each town
  • Lastly, if you are able, your financial or in-kind support is always welcome.  There are many ways to direct your gift – and all are very important to our survival.
    • Adopt a musician
    • Assist with building our library BUY A SYMPHONY
    • Help us build our endowment fund
    • Do you have a skill we could use? We’d love to work out an agreement to use your donated services.
      • Webmaster
      • Marketing/Advertising
      • Public Relations
      • Accounting
        • and more!



Stay Connected


Carlos Foggin

Music Director

Charitable Number: 768670713RR0001

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