President’s Report – 2016
2015 was our 15 year anniversary and featured several concerts that highlighted not only the enhanced quality of musical performance from the orchestra but an increasing recognition from our audience, benefactors and the wider community.
In May BRO was asked to perform at the Townsville ARTS Awards, a first for the orchestra, with a selection from Frozen, not your standard repertoire but well received by the audience and an indication that the orchestra can is and capable of taking on a diverse range of music. This was to be a feature in the last 12 months.
August was another first for BRO as were invited to perform at a free public concert as part of the Australian Festival of Chamber Music. Supported by Townsville City Council and featuring other ensembles such as 1RAR band and Camerata of St. John’s string ensemble. The performance culminated in Tchaikovsky’s 1812 Overture Op.49 with a twist. Involving the audience simulating the cannons with paper bags and car keys…. you had to be there. The audience was in excess of 4000 and proved very popular. So much so we have been invited back for another performance in 2016. Thank you Justin.
As is often the case rehearsals for the World Music Concert were well under way prior to the AFCM concert. World Music Concert offered a music tour of the world featuring Adam Lopez (Vocalist), Domenico Tarraborrelli on Accordion and David Hudson on digeridoo, vocals and guitar. Audio/Visual was used throughout the concert and several of the arrangements were specifically written for the performance. As it involved 21 pieces of music and extra musicians for 1RAR and further afield. Sally our Orchestra Manager had her work cut out for her and I am pleased to say rose to the challenge. I had the privilege to produce direct and conduct the performance. After the performance which was well received by the audience, given the letters and feedback we received, we had a big exhale at completing such a mammoth task.
This concert was hired in by Townsville Civic Theatre, another first for BRO. As was our next performance which was a collaboration with Dancenorth in their presentation of a unique work titled Twilight written and directed by Ng Chor Guan an international artist and located on the headlands of Kissing Point. It involved elements of BRO Brass section performing music in response to the environment. With no music written it was up the musicians to play given limited guidelines; certainly a challenge for those of us who are used to using written music. From all reports it was particularly effective.
Rounding out the year was A Musical Feast in November conducted by Mark Shiell. Mark commented that he thought the orchestra and improved musically since he last worked with the BRO, pleasing feedback from a professional. A potpourri of music that was enjoyed by all.
2016 was soon upon us commencing with the launch at the Pier restaurant with a performance from the Strings and a last minute addition of soprano Siobhan Patrick, a spell binding performance that I think will lead to further collaborations with her. The launch also allowed me to reinforce our Commitment to TPAC (www.tpac.net.au) while we had the Mayor’s full attention. This continues to be an ongoing concern that requires all of us to push TPAC forward at every opportunity.
Plunging head-long into rehearsals for Dreams and Dances conducted by Richard McIntyre. Ric once again come up with an interesting program the highlight being the Marquez, full of Latin rhythms and percussion. A piece I hope we get to perform again soon.
Finally it brings us to our performance in the Townsville 150 concert centre piece for the T150 celebrations. Once again by invitation from Townsville Civic Theatre in collaboration with 1RAR, we provided music for all of the artists and were on stage for the whole performance. A hugely successful event due in large to BRO.
Conducted by the new Major Domino of 1RAR band the stage was filled with over 60 musicians. David Campbell who was the headline act commented at his one and only rehearsal that the assembled ensemble was first class and would come back to Townsville any time as he was thrilled to have such a fine orchestra to sing with. It was a full house and the BRO received many accolades as a result of playing too many in the audience that had not previously heard BRO.
We initially set a program of three performances and completed eight in the last 12 months. To make all this happen you need an Orchestra Manager that is tireless in her commitment and ready to make it all happen We are so fortunate to have Sally as our Orchestra Manager. Many thanks Sally, words are not enough to reward you for all of the extra work that you give us.
The engine room that keeps everything heading in the right direction is our indomitable committee. As I won’t be standing this year as President, it brings my two year reign of terror to an end. I thank you all for your support and hard work that you all put in to make this happen for the musicians and the audience. Again words are not enough.
I must draw your attention to our Treasurer, Annette who has so capably steered the financial ship for several years. Your professionalism could always be relied upon and your advice was always on the money pardon the pun. As you are stepping down please accept my thanks on behalf of the BRO for all of your hard work. I note that the Sturt Business Centre will be continuing their support to BRO so I know we will still have close contact with you. For those that have an interest in joining the BRO committee I can assure you, you will find it challenging, stimulating and a group of people on the committee who stand ready to help.