Message from former Patron, The Hon. Penny Wensley AC

BRO Patron Mr Bill Twedell read a message from The Hon. Penny Wensley AC, former BRO Patron, to the audience at the 21st celebration concert. Penny’s message is reproduced below.

“It is with great pleasure that I send this message of congratulations to the Barrier Reef Orchestra, tonight celebrating 21 years of making music in Townsville.

As Patron of the Orchestra from 2009 to 2014, and as a frequent visitor to this city during my six years as Governor of Queensland, I had many opportunities to hear the Orchestra play and to appreciate the very special place it occupies in the hearts of so many members of the Townsville community.

Community is the key word. This is truly and genuinely a community orchestra: “of the people, for the people, by the people”.

Its founding in 2000 was driven by community members, inspired and enthused by the vision of founding Patron Professor John Hopkins OBE and foundation conductor Richard McIntyre OAM; and its growth through two decades has been nurtured and sustained by the community. Students from Townsville schools have helped fill its sections, encouraged and supported by teachers and family; local musicians have given their time and talent to play in the orchestra and to mentor these young players; hundreds of people have volunteered hundreds – in fact more probably thousands – of hours to planning and managing what Judy Hunter describes in the book being launched tonight, as “the myriad details and activities that are needed to keep an orchestra running for two decades” . Local businesses have provided valuable sponsorship, as has the local city Council, since the Orchestra’s inception; and many individual community members have been generous in providing financial support to secure the Orchestra’s place as an enduring feature of Townsville’s cultural landscape.

As the Orchestra marks this threshold birthday, I have every confidence that this place IS now secure and that the Barrier Reef Orchestra is now indelibly part of the life and character of this city. I congratulate and thank all who have contributed to this achievement. and wish Townsville audiences many more years of enjoyment, pleasure and pride in its performances.”