The Kamloops Symphony Society has announced that executive director, Daniel Mills, will be leaving the KSO in mid-May. Daniel is moving on to an exciting new role as Director of Development at Arts Commons, Western Canada’s largest Performing Arts Centre, in his hometown of Calgary.

“It is with bittersweet feelings that I share this news,” said John McDonald, Chair of the KSO Board.

An accomplished musician himself, Daniel’s passion for making orchestral music more accessible to a wider audience was a recurring note throughout his time with us. During the challenging years of the pandemic, Daniel led the way in bringing music to the people when the people couldn’t bring themselves to the music. In fact, the KSO was among the first orchestras in Canada to embrace an all-digital experience during COVID restrictions. Under his management, KSO organized, filmed, and streamed eleven full-length online concerts, which racked up over 8,000 views.

Others may have taken the easy route; KSO did not, and Daniel’s drive and dedication were certainly instrumental. In fact, “easy routes” were not where Daniel chose to direct his energy. Early in the pandemic, he endeared himself to the community by running every street in Kamloops, raising more than $25,000 for KSO in the process.

daniel mills beginning his marathon to end the "running the symphony" campaign, leaving the parking lot in front of sagebrush theatre

Daniel delivered three consecutive balanced budgets during a time when many arts organizations were struggling. He forged strong relationships with other arts organizations, including Western Canada Theatre (WCT), Kamloops Art Gallery, and Kamloops Film Festival, setting the stage for future collaborative ventures. He fostered a positive working environment with KSO musicians and their union, the Vancouver Musicians’ Association (VMA). Daniel also played a crucial role in the transition to the KSO’s and Music School’s new home at Kelson Hall, Centre for Arts & Creativity, working closely with developers, WCT and the City to create a new arts-specific facility for Kamloops.

As well, according to McDonald, “Daniel and KSO music director, Dina Gilbert, continually pushed the artistic envelope of our local symphony by presenting innovative and vibrant programming.”

Adds Gilbert, “Daniel has been an incredible ally and arts ambassador in our community. Thanks to his hard work, creativity, and music advocacy, he helped KSO achieve its most important phase of growth since its founding.”

daniel mills standing on the sagebrush theatre stage giving a welcome speech to the audience

The proof of Daniel's and Dina's successful partnership lies in patrons’ support: post-COVID, KSO has seen record numbers of patrons returning to live performance, contrary to national trends.

A consummate professional, leader, musician, and trusted colleague, Daniel will be missed by so many in our community. Daniel will miss much about our community as well. As he puts it, “I will truly cherish the countless individuals I have met and will be forever grateful for the generosity and vibrancy demonstrated by those in the region.”

We thank Daniel for his performance as executive director of Kamloops Symphony and wish him every success in the next chapter of his career.