Symphony Orchestra defends wet prom

THE weekend’s delicious deluge was not entirely welcome in all quarters, as the following open letter from Air Chief Marshal Angus Houston, chair of the Canberra Symphony Orchestra, suggests.

Air Chief Marshal Angus Houston

Air Chief Marshal Angus Houston

“The CSO shares the disappointment of our patrons that this year’s Prom proved to be a wet one,” Houston writes.

Acting upon advice received from the Bureau of Meteorology on Thursday, Friday, and up until 3pm on Saturday, we proceeded with the concert due to predictions that Saturday rain would ease to possible showers with no thunderstorm activity or warnings. The forecast for Sunday was worse with the possibility of dangerous thunderstorms. The following week was predicted to be unsettled with rain over the weekend of the 22nd.

The CSO website was updated with this information on Thursday and again on Saturday morning and Facebook updates continued until 4pm on Saturday. On Saturday morning, the decision to proceed was sent to ABC 666, ArtSound fm and Mix 106.3 for radio broadcast.

In the end Saturday afternoon proved to be wetter than predicted. On Sunday three Severe Thunderstorm Warnings were issued by the Bureau of Meteorology at 1:17pm, 3:04pm and 7:10pm, and 2 lines of thunderstorms did pass through the area. The CSO has a duty of care to our patrons, musicians and staff, and under these dangerous and unsafe conditions, the Prom would not have been able to proceed.

To the one thousand or so CSO brave souls who came with umbrellas and rain gear, thank you! It was a beautiful concert and it was especially warming to see people dancing to the “Can-Can”! After months of intense work to bring this concert to the stage, the CSO regrets any inconvenience caused to our valued patrons. The decision to proceed on Saturday was not taken lightly as the CSO works hard to deliver enjoyable concert experiences to our community.”

Air Chief Marshal Angus Houston concluded by saying that the CSO Board and Management was planning a review of the Prom event, to be announced at the time of the  2015 Season Launch in August.

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