History

The first regular concert of the Victoria Symphony Orchestra began in Duncan during the autumn of 1955. The idea was first broached in 1955 when Jack Barraclough, President of the Victoria Symphony Society, decided to approach several service clubs in the Duncan area to assess interest in sponsoring a symphony season.

The clubs he approached were not interested, however. Then fate intervened. Jack mentioned his idea to a close family friend, Peggy Boiston, who happened to be a member of the Duncan Business and Professional Women’s Club. With typical zeal and energy, Peggy took up the challenge, convinced her club to sponsor a season, and went to work to organize it.

So it was that by September, the high school gymnasium and the Victoria Symphony was booked, and the Women’s Club had begun a series of concerts that has continued to this day.

Peggy, a teacher at the high school, secured the co-operation of the school staff and students to prepare the gym for each concert.

For twelve years, the Duncan Business and Professional Women’s Club shouldered full responsibility for the concerts, but finally they became too burdensome, so in 1967, the duties were handed over to the newly-formed Cowichan Symphony Committee, which later became what we know today: the Cowichan Symphony Society.