Quebec symphony launches innovative fundraiser with ‘Bow of Hope’

Who: Orchestre symphonique de Québec (OSQ), with Lg2 for strategy and creative, and OKOK for production.

What: “The Bow of Hope,” a new fundraising campaign by OSQ for the Quebec Cancer Foundation, using one of the most common signs of the fight against cancer—hair loss during chemotherapy—to create music as a symbolic gesture of hope and courage.

It also pays tribute to celebrated conductor and composer Bramwell Tovey, who was OSQ’s principal guest conductor. Tovey was to conduct a series of six concerts with the OSC during the 2022-23 season, but died of cancer in July 2022 at the age of 69.

When & Where: The campaign debuted on the anniversary of Tovey’s death, running across the OSQ and the Quebec Cancer Foundation’s website and social media pages.

Why: The Quebec Cancer Foundation helps approximately 57,500 Quebecers dealing with cancer every year, funding various support services for them and their loved ones.

OSQ’s goal with the new campaign is to encourage people to make a donation to the organization by tying together the world-famous conductor with one of the musical instruments that came to characterize his life: the violin.

Luc Du Sault, LG2 partner vice-president and executive creative director, Quebec, said that effective creativity comes from ideas that make a social impact and raise awareness about issues by connecting with people in unexpected ways.

How: The emotional 90-second campaign video tells the story of a woman named Karine who is currently battling cancer. Knowing that she will likely lose her hair during chemotherapy, she donates it to a luthier, who uses it to create a bow used during a concert performance honouring Tovey earlier this year.

Horsehair has been used in violin bows for more than 400 years, with a bow typically made from between 160 and 180 individual strands. Horsehair shares characteristics with human hair, except it is slightly thicker. The bow featuring Karine’s hair was used by first violin Catherine Dallaire during the tribute concert to Movey, where the 1,200 attendees—including Karine—were informed that proceeds from the performance would go to the Quebec Cancer Foundation.

“Thanks to the courageous donation of a woman affected by cancer, we celebrated the courage of those who are touched by this disease,” said Du Sault. “Incorporating her hair into the bow was a show of hope and created a sense of togetherness and empathy. The response from the audience proved that there are endless ways to convey a message.”

And we quote: “Music is so emotionally moving. ‘The Bow of Hope’ shows how music can transform a difficult event into a powerful instrument of courage and hope. Hair loss is a profoundly challenging experience for many undergoing cancer treatment, and this was captured in an excerpt from Bach’s ‘Partita no. 2.’ Maestro Tovey would have been very touched.”—Carl Langelier, director of marketing and communications, Orchestre symphonique de Québec

Chris Powell