The West Coast Symphony, formerly the Vancouver Chamber Players, was originally founded in the early 1970s as an amateur string orchestra. Performing the masterpieces of the string literature and a variety of lighter fare, the group gave 20 to 25 free concerts per year in venues such as churches, hospitals and long-term care facilities.
Over the years, the group added woodwinds, brass, and percussion until it became a full-fledged Orchestra in the mid 1980s. In 1992, the West Coast Symphony Society was formally incorporated under the Provincial Societies Act, becoming a Charitable Organization registered with the Canada Revenue Agency.
The Orchestra now presents 7 programs each season, primarily in the Lower Mainland, but also in outlying areas such as Bowen Island, Whistler and Vancouver Island. Not forsaking its origins, a number of small chamber ensembles made up of musicians from the orchestra perform regularly throughout the year. Membership in the Society is open to musicians of high calibre.
The West Coast Symphony Society is operated by an elected Board of Directors comprised of members of the Orchestra. Financially, the Orchestra depends on donations from individuals and businesses, as well as membership dues. The musicians receive no pay for their services; their reward is in the preparation of quality musical programming to share with the community.