CLASSIC Sounds Orchestra has grown from a small group of like-minded musicians into a hotbed of musical talent in the City of Armadale.
It began as a group of residents who had played music in school, meeting once a fortnight to rehearse and maintain their skills.
President and Music Director Rachel John said she happened upon the idea while teaching music in schools.
“I realised there was a higher retention rate among students if they were part of a group but there was nothing available for people once they finished school.”
Registering as an organisation in 2012, Classic Sounds is now made up of six groups including a formal orchestra, brass ensemble, string quartet and the Twinkle Stars, a group for children aged 2 to 8.
Rehearsals for the main orchestras are held in Kelmscott with nearly all musicians coming from Armadale.
Ms John said she runs rehearsals for between sixty to one hundred musicians a week.
She was not surprised by the large pocket of talent in the area.
“I think I knew there were a lot of people who were musicians in our region,” she said.
“We’re very culturally diverse and it’s an affordable place to live; artistic people are not high income earners.”
The orchestra relies on word of mouth to attract new members.
Ms John said the Armadale community very much appreciated what the orchestras had to offer.
Ms John credited the orchestra’s entertaining repertoire which took, “the ordinary and made it extraordinary.”
“Listening to music is supposed to be fun,” she said.
The musicians play from purchased music as well as arrangements Ms John tailors to their instruments.
She said without the Classic Sounds Orchestra committee she would not have been able to keep expanding the group.
“This year we’re going to introduce a wind ensemble, take part in the Minnawarra Arts festival and play at more beautiful locations around the City.”
The organisation was recognised by the Australia Day Council for its contributions to local culture, winning a Community Citizen of the Year Award.
“Not only did the award make me feel proud but it will make it easier when applying for future funding,” Ms John said.
The organisation had a wish list including a trailer for transporting instruments and funding for visits to country regions.