The Bendigo Symphony Orchestra celebrated its 40th anniversary at the weekend with a series of concerts.
Performing at the Uluimbarra Theatre for the first time, the orchestra showcased a Mozart-based program.
Concert pianist Elyane Laussade and soprano Merlyn Quaife both featured as did an ortiginal work by Bendigo composer, teacher and conductor, Cally Bartlett.
BSO vice president Nigel McGuckian said it was a fantastic weekend.
"It was absolutely amazing. The orchestra worked really hard. A lot of of work is going into that level of playing," he said. "We are just thrilled to playing at a really fantastic level.
"The audience was 700 tickets sold for the two concerts, which is three times the level we have had in past.
"Being at Ulumbarra for the the first time and speaking to audience members, people were thrilled at the level we can play at now. We have a massive program set for next year with some big works at The Capital and Ulumbarra.
"With COVID recovery, we have had this concert postponed twice since June. All the players are incredibly resilient. So it has been a celebration of 40 years but also a celebration of coming back to playing and the players enjoying having and audience again."
Mr McGuckian first joined the BSO 25 years ago before leaving and returning five years ago.
He said the growth of Bendigo and its arts and culture community helped community groups in the performing arts evolve.
"The orchestra has grown with the scale of Bendigo," he said. "Bendigo has doubled in size and has got orchestra that is fit for purpose for a regional city that is the third biggest in Victoria.
"Bendigo can support a really strong orchestra that not only gives great performances, but has people move here for a chance play with a symphony orchestra.
"Our next step is performing programs which need a big orchestra. We are practicing Tchaikovsky's Fifth Symphony which will be perfect for The Captial or Ulumbarra. In a year's time we want to perform Beethoven's 9th with a big choir.
"They're major undertakings and the sort of thing the Bendigo community deserve in city of this scale."
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Mr McGuckian said professionals and students who play music as a hobby have helped the BSO's numbers remain healthy.
"All sorts of professions have people who also play an instrument well," he said. "All the music teachers in Bendigo play beautifully," he said. "We have a strong group of 40 players that can perform big works.
"We've got three new young players who have finished year 12. I reckon (orchestras) are almost having a resurgence because they are playing more modern and popular works."
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