General Manager Rob ‘Kato’ Sonoda on Centre In The Square’s 40th Anniversary
My first experience with Centre In The Square was around November 20, 1980 — this arts centre was only 2 months old. I was the promoter/tour rep. and assistant production manager for the Burton Cummings “Mile A Second” Tour. We played 2 sold out nights! I recall wandering into this beautiful theatre, and wondered how this City pulled off creating such an awesome space. To top it all off, the acoustics were incredible! We made Kitchener a mandatory stop on all of our touring schedules from then on. At the time, it was one of 17 halls in Canada, and the newest that had over 2,000 seats, an important place to come and play, and route events through. Geoff Butler was the 1st GM, and was awesome. Everyone became good friends with Geoff, and during his tenure here post-show “meetings” at the Tu Lane Truck Stops were memorable! I never thought I would return 23 years later to be part of the team here, and now the General Manager. Many ask “What does the future hold for Centre In The Square?” My team and I pledge to keep programming incredible shows & creating memorable experiences for all who step into Centre In The Square. The team dynamic is incredibly important to Centre In The Square. It takes an incredible staff to pull off a single event, let alone 100+ each year. We wish to further dedicate ourselves to all aspects of the Arts, Culture, and Entertainment world. You will see a variety of collaborations with cultural groups, community organizations, and aim to make the Arts a more inclusive space.
Finally, I’m often asked what are some of my favourite moments here at Centre In The Square. Here are a few highlights:
- Having The Tragically Hip perform here in April 2009
- Presenting Leonard Cohen in 2008
- “Near Normal Man” – Holocaust Survivor Ben Stern in 2019
- Producing our 100th Anniversary / Celebration ceremonies of WW1 to honour our fallen, and those who sacrificed in 2018
- Working for Tony Bennett with a full orchestra and witness him sing A Capella “Fly Me To The Moon”