LifestyleArtsBundaberg Youth Orchestra to celebrate 50 years

Bundaberg Youth Orchestra to celebrate 50 years

Bundaberg Youth Orchestra
Lleyton Peterson, Kirsten Apostel, Darcy Tanzer and Emilie Petts from the Bundaberg Youth Orchestra

Bundaberg Youth Orchestra is one of Australia’s longest running regional youth orchestras and will this year celebrate its 50th anniversary.

The Youth Orchestra will launch its 50th anniversary celebrations with a showcase concert at the Moncrieff Entertainment Centre on Friday 11 March.

Assistant conductor Delwyn Ainsworth said Bundaberg Youth Orchestra’s Senior Orchestra (BYO1) would join an ensemble from Queensland Symphony Orchestra (QSO) together with four former members of BYO, along with Bella Canna Strings in the concert.

“This is the first of many events planned in 2022 to celebrate this significant occasion with both current and past members of the orchestra,” Delwyn said.

“Queensland Symphony Orchestra is also celebrating their 75th anniversary this year, so they are excited to be sharing these milestones together with a combined performance.”

Queensland Symphony Orchestra will also feature past BYO member Ashley Carter, who is now associate principal trombone, in the concert.

“Ashley is one of many past members of Bundaberg Youth Orchestra who have gone on to professional careers in music both performing and teaching,” Delwyn said.

Other past members include Liam O’Malley, who is now associate principal trombone in the Western Australian Symphony Orchestra, and Alex Morris who is principal bass clarinet with Sydney Symphony Orchestra.

Delwyn said many instrumental music teachers in the Bundaberg Region also began their performing careers in Bundaberg Youth Orchestra.

She said that both BYO1 and BYO2 formed in 1975 and each still rehearse on Wednesday afternoons every week during state school terms under the direction of Robert Rotar and Megan Hoban.

Bundaberg Youth Orchestra
Robert Rotar's 25th anniversary concert featuring past members of the orchestra with BYO1.

“Robert is musical director of BYO and conductor of BYO1, and he celebrated his 30th year conducting this orchestra in 2021,” Delwyn said.

“Robert also conducted Bundaberg Municipal Band for 21 years and has been guest conductor for Bundaberg Orpheus Singers and Bundaberg Sinfonietta.”

Robert believes that every music student should have the opportunity provided by groups such as BYO.

“Not every student who learns an instrument will be out to have a career as a musician, but they should have the option of playing music for the rest of their life,” Robert said.

“For students in regional areas there is often not enough exposure to a variety of teaching, involvement in positive playing experiences, or exposure to positive role models in making music, including performers on other instruments”.

Bundaberg Youth Orchestra aims to provide members with these experiences, as well as the chance to make lifelong friendships with fellow musicians.

Megan is a past member of BYO, having joined Bundaberg Youth Orchestra as a member in the early 2000s.

She was appointed as the conductor of the Bundaberg Youth Orchestra’s training orchestra at the end of 2019.

Delwyn said past members of Bundaberg Youth Orchestra were encouraged to maintain their association with the orchestra, and she said performances involving past members were planned for September and November this year.

Past members are also invited to share their stories with the BYO Committee who will feature those on their Facebook page throughout the year.

As well as the alumni concerts Queensland Youth Orchestra will tour to Bundaberg in June to join BYO in their celebrations.

For more information about Bundaberg Youth Orchestra’s 50th anniversary click here or email