Photo: Last concert Dietmar Seibt attended before he died: Proms Island Style, April 29, 2023 at The Port Theatre,
photographed with Sharon Seibt and Associate Principal Violist Guyonne Le Louarn

Arts are not an extra for this lifelong music supporter

“A society or country or city cannot function without a cultural scene – it becomes a negative scene.” Sharon Seibt’s commitment to the Vancouver Island Symphony started with a blind date. She and her husband Dietmar were preparing to move to Vancouver Island from Edmonton. During the summer before they took possession of their new home they saw a VIS brochure on the ferry. Not knowing a thing about the VIS, but knowing they loved symphony concerts, they bought 2 season subscriptions sight unseen before they lost cell reception on the ferry crossing.

Sharon’s love for live music meant that this blind date wasn’t a risk at all. She had spent her lifetime immersed in music and art. At the age of 5 her grandmother took her to see Swan Lake. She loved it. Throughout high school, she played flute in an award-winning concert band in order to tour Canada and Europe. “I wasn’t musical,” Sharon declared, “but I could read music, […] and we practiced every morning and evening. We were so good, we won all the competitions.” As a nursing student, Sharon took the opportunity of living 1.5 blocks from Toronto’s Massey Hall to gain ticket giveaways. She and her classmates would dress up and fill the seats at donor events and special concerts. When she met her 2nd husband Dietmar, she had an opera subscription and he had a symphony subscription. It seemed only natural to keep both sets of season’s tickets.

Sharon and Dietmar spent many years travelling the world together and always got to know a place by consuming the local art. CDs and works of art are her travel souvenirs. They enjoyed the experiment of attending something unknown. When Pierre Simard became the Artistic Director of VIS, they noticed a significant shift in programming that really intrigued them both: “New pieces, a richer sound, a real growth musically, growth of [their] willingness to experiment with music and artform. We always opted into all the extras.” Sharon remembers. “We didn’t know we were going to like all the different types of performances, but we did.” Now with Maestra Justo Valdés on the podium, Sharon is equally impressed with the depth and breadth of the Symphony’s onstage offerings. “It is wonderful that Cosette shares the amazing journey of her life with us each time she gives a talk. I can hardly wait for next season!”

Sharon has been a steadfast supported of the VIS since 2001. In addition to attending every concert, she makes annual gifts to the VIS Foundation to ensure VIS’ longevity. When Dietmar got ill and they had to cut back to just the necessities, musical experiences and VIS concert attendance became even more important to her. Sharon does not believe that the arts are an add-on. They are integral. Even though Dietmar is no longer with her to attend VIS concerts, she will continue to buy 2 season subscriptions so she can always introduce the VIS to someone new.

Celebrate 30 years with Nanaimo’s Musical Gem! Renew your subscription before May 17. New Season Subscriptions on sale June 3 and single tickets go on sale June 17.