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About us

Orchestra Management Committee 2023 - 2024

President - Bridget Caddick-King 
Vice President - Jessica Connell
Treasurer - Juanita Bennett
Secretary & Media Officer - TBA
Librarian - Jane Pugh
Artistic Director & Conductor - Robert Johnstone
General Committee Member - Gwen Watson
General Committee Member - Naomi Shintani

Life Members
for distinguished and exemplary service to the promotion of music in Far North Queensland.

Stella Massey OAM
Margery Duffy OAM
Kath Cowen
Fred Shipke
Karen Hales
Don Fry
Rosemary FitzRoy
Jacqui Clarke
George Shipke
Bill Stokes
Shirley Lennon (dec'd)
Joy Turner (dec'd)
Jack Mawdsley (dec'd)



1969 – Orchestra performs inaugural concert as Cairns Civic Orchestra

On Thursday, 12 June 1969, The Cairns Civic Orchestra presented their inaugural concert, the first local orchestra performance the Cairns community would see since 1949.

The Cairns Post on 13th June 1969, reported the event as follows:-

“Sparkling Inaugural Concert”.
“Cairns last night was treated to a light, well-balanced inaugural concert from the Cairns Civic Orchestra. The Orchestra played to what must have been the largest crowd St. Joseph’s Hall had seen for a long time”.

The Orchestra was indeed fortunate to have as its Musical Director, Mr. Norman Pitchfork, a man who had dedicated his life to the study of music. 

After Norm Pitchfork’s departure from Cairns, the late Ken Fisher became conductor for a period of years until 1975 when Frank Bray took over.

In December 1975 the orchestra tackled its biggest venture when under the baton of Robert Simpson, the entire performance of Messiah was presented by full choir and orchestra. This performance became a bi-annual tradition in Cairns.

In 1978 guest conductors who helped bring the orchestra to its high standard of performance were Derrek Gillet with the Anzac Prom concert and Delwyn Day with the “Fun in the Sun” concert.


1993 – Name change to Cairns Concert Orchestra

In 1993, the name of the Orchestra was changed to the Cairns Concert Orchestra. Several Musical Directors over the years include Frank Gorringe, Ken Fisher, Frank Bray, Robert Simpson, Derrek Gillett, Delwyn Day, Bob Reuben, Colin Fox, Stella Massey, Neville Drew and Alice Maye-Davies.


1994 – Orchestra celebrates 25 years

In 1994, the orchestra celebrated 25 years and performed a ‘Silver Jubilee’ Concert at the Cairns Civic Theatre, featuring music from the 1969 concert, 25 years prior. Conducted by Alice Maye-Davies, led by Stella Massey. 

2019 – Orchestra celebrates 50 years

The orchestra celebrated 50 years in 2019 and continues to perform several concerts each year and remains a string orchestra for adults providing music to the Cairns community.

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