The story of St Andrew’s Community Orchestra

The St Andrew’s Community Orchestra has been functioning since the early 1980s, when it was founded by a small group of amateur musicians who had the desire to bring music in Brisbane to Christian settings. Its foundation members were drawn from the St John’s Upper Mt Gravatt Parish Orchestra. Long-serving members of the Orchestra included John and Gwen Roberts and Brian and Heather Stanmore, whose children joined them to create the nexus for a small chamber group initially titled the Christian Community Orchestra.

The foundation group advertised and spread the word throughout the community to the extent that members were soon rehearsing on Wednesday nights in a building next to the Masonic Lodge in Ann Street, Brisbane.

The group’s early concerts were usually in churches. Concert venues were expanded to include shopping centres and retirement villages, allowing funds to be raised towards the Orchestra’s expenses, which have always included retaining a professional conductor.

St Andrew’s Community Orchestra 2023

Eventually the Orchestra’s rehearsal venue was shifted to St Andrew’s Anglican Church South Brisbane and over a substantial period the Orchestra has shared numerous ties with St Andrew’s South Brisbane. Circa 2002 this was recognised by a name change to the St Andrew’s Community Orchestra. Accordingly the Orchestra regards itself as part of the St Andrew’s church ministry by way of its community engagement.

As well as playing in churches, the Orchestra’s forty-year history includes playing at weddings, funerals, libraries, and for community groups. The Orchestra has also played for fundraisers such as the TEAR Fund (for over a decade) and the St Andrew’s church organ’s restoration project. Performances by the Orchestra with other musical groups include the St Andrew’s Church Choir, the Cantamus Choir, the Counterpoint Vocal Ensemble and with the Indooroopilly Chamber Orchestra.

For more information, phone Graeme Cliffe 0418 607 765 or Lesley Richardson 0417 721 008 or email merrilbotfield07@gmail.com

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