As a music-mad 12-year-old in Rockhampton, Michael McCabe had a big dream that he would one day play in a symphony orchestra and the orchestra would belong to his home town.
Fifty-eight years later, tuba player Michael is a founding member and president of the Rockhampton Symphony Orchestra, and with his fellow musicians will take to the stage on November 18 at the Pilbeam Theatre for a rousing Return of the Proms, a celebration of the orchestra's sold-out inaugural A Night at the Proms in 2018.
"I dreamed of having a symphony orchestra here since I was 12 years old and the Queensland Symphony Orchestra would come up on the steam train, and then later on the Sunlander diesel train," Michael said.
"I wanted to play music and be in an orchestra. I played in the school orchestra, youth orchestra, brass band and other musical groups and orchestras over the years, but there was always a dream of playing in a symphony orchestra here."
Michael, who also plays the cornet and euphonium and is the current drum major in the Capricornia Silver Band, saw his dream come true in 2018 after the Rockhampton Symphony Orchestra was born with its first concert A Night at the Proms held in the shearing shed at Rockhampton Heritage Village, a sell out event.
The orchestra now performs regularly to audiences of up to 700 at the Pilbeam Theatre. However, it can be quite a challenge with members who are fly-in/fly-out workers and others looking after children and ageing parents. "So there are a raft of reasons that might prevent everyone getting together to rehearse or perform a concert," Michael said.
The orchestra has members across the age ranges but about a quarter are over 50 with several in their 60s, 70s and until last year an 80-year-old who retired from the orchestra but still assists with the youth orchestra.
Music lovers will be getting their flags ready, airing out the glad rags and priming the vocal cords for the highly anticipated Return of the Proms. Conductor Owen Clarke returns with a rousing program of all-time favourites such as Hallelujah Chorus, Rhythm of Life, You Raise Me Up, Can Can, the ever popular Pomp and Circumstance plus a selection of other classical pieces.
The event will showcase the talents of more than 60 local musicians and the 50-strong Proms Choir directed by Julie Layt. Tickets: $52, $48, group $45.
Meanwhile Michael not only saw his Rockhampton orchestra dream come true, but the year he turned 70 he was invited to perform with the Queensland Symphony Orchestra.
Phone 07-4927-4111 or click here for more information.
Sign up for our newsletter to stay up to date.