(Occasional news items about TCO and the music in which we are involved)

Update January 2017 - Toowoomba players and composers shine

Our last concert for 2016 was one to remember. Viola virtuoso and Toowoomba local Elizabeth Lawrence provided a performance to warm the heart of any viola lover in her playing of the Suite for Viola and Small Orchestra by Vaughan Williams.

This was followed by world premieres of works by young Toowoomba composers Eddie Smith and Stephen Lebsanft. These fascinating and contrasting works gave the orchestra the opportunity to show off the breadth of its musical colours.

Works by Dvorak, Roussel and Albeniz rounded out the program that lived up to its name of "Kaleidoscope".

With the first two concerts for the year locked in, negotiations are ongoing for some exciting things up ahead in 2017.

We look forward to more enjoyable Sunday afternoon concerts. See you there!

Update October 2016 - A wet night with The Whitlams!

For the second year in a row the Toowoomba Concert Orchestra performed in Queens Park for the final concert of the Carnival of Flowers - Flower, Food and Wine Festival.

It was touch and go earlier on in the day as the rain kept pouring down - but the orchestra lived up to the tradition that "the show must go on". Despite the mud and slush we got our precious instruments up on stage and as The Whitlam's lead singer Tim Freedman said, "Gough must have pulled some strings for us" - and the rain stopped - for most of the performance.

For audience and players alike and perhaps in part because of the weather, it was a wildly exciting night. As many listeners commented, there was a real "vibe" between orchestra and band and the sound engineers did a spectacular job in making the most of what was happening on stage.

Who knows what we may be doing next year.......

We now look forward to our final concert for the year "Kaleidoscope" that promises to provide some challenges for us and some surprises for the audience.

The photo shows us on stage at Queens Park shortly before "kick off".

Update September 2016 - It's shaping as another big year!

With the year rapidly slipping by we have already had two great performances.

Our first concert "If the Shoe (Schu) Fits" proved to be a wonderful afternoon and was well received by a big audience. Our after concert country spread with drinks and food are proving to be a popular opportunity to catch up socially for both the audience and players.

The Children's Concert based around Narelle Oliver's book "Fox and Fine Feathers" sold out so fast that we had to put on a second show on the same day - that again sold out. This was a real gem of a day with heaps of children (and parents) joining in with the spirit of things. We look forward to more of the same in coming years.

Following last year's "rave review" support for our Queens Park performance with Josh Pyke at the close of the Carnival of Flowers we are again featured this time with The Whitlams in what promises to be another exciting performance.

We are looking forward to our final concert for the year "Kaleidoscope" that promises to provide some challenges for us and some surprises for the audience.

Update March 2016 - Will there ever be another year for TCO like 2015?

Let's hope so! Our 40th anniversary year was indeed special as summarised in the previous update (see below).

Perhaps most importantly it reminded us and our audiences that we have been an important part of Toowoomba's growth over the last 40 years and we look forward to continuing in that role.

2016 looks like again having plenty of excitement that you will hear more of as the year progresses.

For the moment we are busy working on our program of works by Schubert and Schumann for our first concert of the year.

Our 40th birthday celebrations - An invitation to past players and supporters

It has been a fantastic year for TCO including our collaboration with USQ vocal soloists in "Tunes of the War Years", plus the characterful Bohemian Nights concert, our contribution to the Toowoomba Show Spectacular "ANZACs Under a Rising Sun" AND our collaboration with Josh Pyke in the final concert of the 2015 Carnival of Flowers.

To help us celebrate 40 years of playing, past players and supporters of TCO are invited to attend our Anniversary Concert AND join us in some socialising and story telling. Past players are invited to email us on twmbaorchestra@y7mail.com or phone 0438 268 913 to obtain more information.

Update October 2015

Josh Pyke and "Morechestra"

You had to be there to understand! Thousands of fans attended the final 2015 Carnival of Flowers concert to hear and see Australian singer/songwriter Josh Pyke and the TCO. This was a charmed event enjoyed by all players and audience alike. The mutual respect between Josh's supporting band and the TCO was clear and the musical results unique and exciting. This was a big and complex event with a massive amount of offstage technology supporting the amplification and mixing of our 50 piece orchestra plus Josh and his band. The results were a credit to all. The chanting of the crowd "Morechestra! Morechestra! Morechestra!" still echoes around Queens Park and who knows when we may all play there again!

Follow this link to view some of the events of the evening.

TCO and Josh Pyke

Update August 2015

Exciting times for TCO

Following our involvement earlier this year with the Toowoomba Show we have now been invited to support Josh Pyke in the final concert of the Toowoomba Carnival of Flowers. This is a very prestigious invitation. The orchestral arrangements of Josh Pyke's songs were premiered by him with the Sydney Symphony Orchestra earlier this year and received rave reviews both from his loyal followers and from devotees of the Sydney Symphony.

But first we are looking forward to our second major orchestral performance "Bohemian Nights" on 23rd August. Following the success of our very popular "Tunes of the War Years" concerts we are looking forward to a "straight" orchestral concert including the magnificent and massive Dvorak 6th Symphony, Strauss Die Fledermaus Overture and the unusual but beautiful baroque Overture by Myslivecek. It will truly be a Bohemian Night even though the concert starts at 3pm!

Refer to Concerts/Tickets for information on our performances for the year.

Stay tuned for information on our final concert for the year - Our 40th Anniversary Concert

Update March 2015

Our 40th Anniversary Year

Following a lot of discussion amongst the orchestra last year we move into our 40th year with confidence and enthusiasm for our coming season of performances and activities.

We are looking forward to our first major performance "Tunes of the War Years" in April. Here we combine with USQ singers to present a nostalgic concert of jazz standards and other songs from the first half of the 20th century plus a premiere performance of "A Song for Gallipoli" from Australian composer George Dreyfus.

On 19th, 20th and 21st March a subset of the TCO will participate in the Toowoomba Show spectacular "ANZACs Under a Rising Sun".

Refer to Concerts/Tickets for information on our other two major performances for the year.

Update October 2014

An orchestra for its players and for Toowoomba

Buoyed by the success of our last concert on 10th August, the TCO has been moving forward with discussions concerning the future of our orchestra.

Following consultation with orchestra members we now have some better understanding of what we are and what we want. Most importantly discussions have affirmed our members' commitment to the orchestra as a vehicle for participation in the enjoyment of music making and performance.

Alongside this, we all have a mix of different priorities for the orchestra. For some of us the social aspects of getting together with likeminded people and participating in a team effort are of high importance. For others there is a strong wish to reach out to the community, not just to sell tickets to our concerts but also to invite the public to engage more directly with us. Other interests include the pursuit of musical excellence in performance, exploration of the orchestral repertoire, collaborations with other musical groups and possible collaborations with school music programs.

Discussions continue concerning ways in which the orchestra can best suit the needs, aspirations and interests of its members.

An orchestra directed by its members

Alongside what could be termed long term strategic discussions about the orchestra we have also been talking about operational matters.

There is a long standing tradition that the conductor of an orchestra has powers and authority akin to a (hopefully benevolent) dictator. Neither our current conductor Matthew Henry nor orchestra members are happy with this tradition. At the same time it is clear that decisions have to be made and authority has to be exercised.

Decisions have recently been made by orchestra members as a group to trial a number of changes to the way in which the orchestra runs and how authority is shared within the orchestra. These include changes to rehearsal scheduling aimed at making better use of our rehearsal time and the creation of a “programming group” charged with selecting the program of works to be played at out next concert.

It is expected that these changes will evolve further as we see how things go.

Toowoomba Concert Orchestra