Over a two-year in the late nineties, Townsville musicians, arts workers and a group of people who had a love for music realised the potential for developing a community-based Orchestra — one that would flourish and become an integral part of the City’s cultural life.
In 2000 to ‘test’ the viability of establishing an Orchestra a weekend workshop was arranged and musicians were invited to participate under the baton of Richard McIntyre, Senior Lecturer at the Canberra School of Music and the result — the Barrier Reef Orchestra was born.
In a typical year the Barrier Reef Orchestra, under the auspices of North Queensland Ensembles Inc, performs three times generally with a guest conductor and occasionally with other performing groups. Smaller ensembles, all utilising players from the Orchestra, regularly give concerts — Orpheus Strings, Pandanus Winds, Kingfisher Trio, Centenary Concert Band and the Barrier Reef Chamber Orchestra.
The high standard is due in no small measure to the guidance and inspiration of our founding Patron, Professor John Hopkins OBE and conductor Richard McIntyre OAM.
In 2006 the orchestra became a truly North Queensland orchestra when in March a number of string players from Cairns travelled to Townsville to rehearse under Professor Hopkins for the planned Tchaikovsky concert. Unfortunately, the interruption of Cyclone Larry prevented the repeat performance scheduled for Cairns.
The final concert for 2006 , ‘Amadeus’, celebrated the life of this great composer in his 250th anniversary year. The Barrier Reef Orchestra could think of no better way in which to celebrate their sixth anniversary!
2004 Poster 2005 Poster