WASO swansong as orchestra begins new tradition with Christmas Symphony at Langley Park

Andrew Sinclair, CEO Craig Whitehead, Rebecca Glorie and Frankie Lo Surdo. Picture: Andrew Ritchie d488993
Andrew Sinclair, CEO Craig Whitehead, Rebecca Glorie and Frankie Lo Surdo. Picture: Andrew Ritchie d488993

WASO chief executive Craig Whitehead will farewell the orchestra after 10 years in the role on December 15, celebrating with his wife, two sons, WASO and 30,000 of their closest friends at Langley Park.

“My last duty as chief executive is at our Christmas Symphony concert,” Whitehead, of Wembley, said.

“There is great synergy with it being the last performance of the year for the orchestra, being the last event I do.

Symphony in the City has been very special to my family and is the one thing that religiously my wife and our two boys have attended every year, so they were keen for it to be our family swansong as well.”

The Whitehead family will return to Brisbane where he will take on the role of Queensland Symphony Orchestra’s chief executive.

Whitehead said he was leaving WASO as a more united company than when he started, as a world-class orchestra led by principal conductor Asher Fisch and as an orchestra engaged with the WA community.

The community engagement extended to WASO inviting Variety WA to combine the annual Symphony in the City concert with Variety’s cancelled Carols by Candlelight to create new event Christmas Symphony.

“For us it was a no-brainer to join forces with them and create perhaps something bigger than the sum of its two parts,” Whitehead said.

“What we’re really hopeful, and what we believe we’ve achieved, is to capture the best elements of our Symphony in the City concert as well as the best of the Carols by Candlelight concert.

“So yes, there will be a little less of our classical music, but those things people have come to expect and love from our Symphony in the City concert will still be very much there.

“And Variety’s involvement with carols and introduction to the Christmas season that Carols has provided over a number of years will be there as well.

“Our musicians understand that WASO operates with a social licence from the community and that it’s important for us as an organisation to be giving back to the community and supporting other community groups for the betterment of the city and WA.”

Whitehead said he was looking forward to hearing 30,000 people sing Christmas carols and the delight on their faces during Tchaikovsky’s 1812 Overture with fireworks.

The full program will be announced on December 5.

THE ESSENTIALS

What: Lotterywest Christmas Symphony

Where: Langley Park

When: 7.30pm, pre-show entertainment from 5pm

Entry: free