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Our orchestra is almost home

15 May 2012

Our orchestra is almost home Image

Many have been affected by the two-year upgrade of Hamer Hall at the Arts Centre, but none more so than one of its major tenants, The Melbourne Symphony Orchestra (MSO).

The orchestra is counting down the days until July 26, when the hall is officially reopened.

The orchestra has traditionally used Hamer Hall for the majority of its performances and as a rehearsal area – given its office is just around the corner on Sturt St.

Acting MSO managing director Wayne Box told the Southbank Local News everyone in the organisation was thrilled the wait was almost over.

“There is loads of excitement around the return to Hamer Hall for us, particularly from the musicians, but also administration staff and, of courses, our audiences,” Mr Box said.

He also explained that the MSO fully understood that the short-term pain felt was going to be worth it with the new hall set to be a world-class performance venue.

The project was undertaken to open up the Arts Centre to the waterfront, but for the orchestra the best improvements are on the inside.

“Acoustics and front-of-house facilities are the big improvements,” Mr Box explained.

Musician and orchestra member Roger Young said these advancements made returning to the hall exciting for all musicians who are lucky enough to perform there.

“I’m really looking forward to hearing what the band sounds like while on the stage. The acoustics have been improved for orchestra members to enable us to hear the rest of the orchestra much better, which will be exciting,” Mr Young said.

“I’ve been playing at Hamer Hall for 10 years, and I hope to be playing in it for at least another 10 after the reopening!”

Financially the break from its main performance space could have crippled the MSO, but thankfully the potential problem was covered by Hamer Hall closure business interruption funding which has helped underpin the last two years.

Mr Box explained that the break was not all bad news.

“The closure has been a blessing and hindrance at the same time,” he said.

“We’ve spent more time at the Melbourne Convention Centre, which has a huge capacity. We now feel confident with using Plenary Hall as an alternative if we ever need to,” Mr Box said.

The orchestra is as busy as ever, but will no doubt have one eye cast on its spectacular return to Hamer Hall shows including Mahler’s Third, Beethoven and Wagner and a mystery program.

If there is one thing the break has shown the orchestra, it is just how fortunate it is to have Hamer Hall as its major performance space, with Mr Box saying: “I don’t think we’ve realised how lucky we’ve had it until this break. We’re all very exciting about the return.”

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