Stanwell Park’s new orchestra gearing up for debut concert in February

Picture: Michele Mossop
Picture: Michele Mossop

Another community orchestra has popped up in the northern Illawarra, created by the Stanwell Park Arts Theatre company.

SPAT Music includes 26 musicians and is under the direction of teacher and multi-instrumentalist Alison Garvie.

The lack of community bands and orchestras in the Illawarra was the reason behind its formation, said Mrs Garvie.

“When you have a purpose for playing it actually encourages the practice,” she said. “The skill level tends to bounce and jump up [when performing to an audience], it builds up confidence, it builds up skills, it gives them a purpose.”

Their inaugural concert “Broadway to the Beach” will be on the grounds of the CWA Hall on The Drive in Stanwell Park on Sunday February 4.

The group will perform “some of the best show tunes from Broadway’s musicals” according to their Facebook group, in an outdoor setting perfect for a picnic blanket.

It’s another arm for the creative organisation who present two to three stage plays and a pantomime per year plus hold acting workshops, a film society, photo club and singing group.

The community group has been running since 1974 and welcomes new members of any age.

It’s one of three Illawarra orchestras currently in existence. The Wollongong Conservatorium runs an inclusive all ages amateur symphony. No audition is required though budding participants do need to be at least of an intermediate level with their instrument.

The much applauded Steel City Strings is the Illawarra’s other community orchestra and is full of ex-professional players and music teachers.

In the Shoalhaven, Illawarra On Pointe Productions draw on the Illawarra and Southern Highlands for their orchestra players to accompany their ballet performances.

Broadway on the Beach, CWA Hall in Stanwell Park, Sunday February 4, from 4pm to 6pm. Tickets via