Arts | Music

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, plus education and outreach initiatives to local schools.

Our Story

Why We Exist

It seems like a surprise to folks fortunate enough to have access to the Arts that the majority of Albertans outside the major centres do not have a local, affordable chance to hear live orchestral music.

As a young boy, Carlos Foggin learned there are two cliché ways to get off the farm, either become a Doctor, or go to Law School. If that doesn’t work out, you stay on the farm and take it over. For many in rural areas, going into the arts isn’t an option; music and art are fun hobbies, at best.

Fortunately, after studying pre-med, and a couple years overseas, Carlos decided to break the rural stereotype – and return to music.

This is where the RMSO provides invaluable experiences for ALL Albertans – we believe that accessibility isn’t only about providing a variety of programming, but rather providing a variety of options for Albertans, who are often limited by constraints of geography, to experience live music.

In fact, the Calgary Herald named our Music Director as one of the 2019 Compelling Calgarians in recognition of this vision 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 (or lack thereof), 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 four seasons, the RMSO will have played  50 concerts, including four 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. In season 4, the Orchestra took up residence in the new Polaris Centre for the Performing Arts (Balzac, RockyView County), and will play for approximately 9,000 audience members.

Our mandate is to provide high-quality performances of Orchestral Music in the small towns (satellite communities) surrounding Calgary, Alberta, Canada.

To fulfill this, we ensure that our events are held in suitable venues in a number of towns, that our concerts appeal to both first-time and seasoned concertgoers, and that ticket prices remain affordable (even FREE for families and individuals who find themselves in difficult circumstances).

The RMSO takes the music to outlying communities, allowing more Albertans to enjoy great music close to home. Whether families with young children, Seniors who don’t drive the highways at night, or folks who just prefer to support local options, the RMSO makes classical music accessible.

No shushing and dirty looks here. We know that children sometimes get the wiggles, and we are happy to accommodate kids being kids (quietly). Many parents bring a colouring book and snacks for young ones.

First-time attendees and experienced concertgoers appreciate the relaxed atmosphere of the RMSO.

It’s very rare that a family can enjoy a night out for under $100. Plus, children’s tickets are always $5.

Thanks to our generous donors, the RMSO is able to offer a generous number of free tickets to the Royal Canadian Legion, as well as other social agencies. This ensures the most discreet and highest-impact distribution to families who are struggling most.

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 teachers, University professors, doctors, nurses, lawyers, 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 and private donations, with limited government and foundational support.

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.
    • DONATE 
    • 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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