RETIREE Barry Neubecker bought his first classical LP in 1958. It was also the year Barry started full-time work, so classical music took a back seat to career.
During their working lives Barry and his wife Val attended WA Symphony Orchestra concerts here and there, but it was retirement that motivated them to resume their keen interest in classical music.
Since finishing work about 10 years ago, the couple have been fixtures at Perth Concert Hall, subscribing to various classical series performed by the orchestra and volunteering their time and skills with activities around it.
For Barry, there have been many wonderful concerts over the years.
"We have great memories of Mahler's Symphony No.2 following Purcell's Death of Queen Mary, performed on a darkened stage under conductor Paul Daniel," he said.
"We have also attended many masterclasses and really enjoy seeing young musicians perform and receive guidance from world-class artists visiting from around the globe."
But Barry and Val's involvement with the orchestra is about more than just the music; it has enabled them to play an active role in the community.
The couple have relished the opportunity to connect with the musicians and management through a range of events, as well as getting close to some of the visiting artists.
As volunteers they have enjoyed welcoming concert-goers as they arrive at Perth Concert Hall or at the annual Symphony in the City at Langley Park.
Barry has written more than 120 articles for the Patrons & Friends newsletter, Encore. Since 2011 he has been vice-president of the Patrons & Friends committee, which raises funds for a scholarship to provide professional development opportunities for orchestra musicians.
The funds are raised through events across the year.
The orchestra is a not-for-profit charitable organisation and many people are surprised to learn that revenue from ticket sales covers only about a quarter of its operating costs. Donations and bequests go towards a range of things, from buying specialist instruments to supporting community and engagement programs.
- To find out more about donations visit waso.com.au/supportus