From the Newsroom

More than 100 people attended the Clarence Valley Orchestra Symphony for Relief concert in The Barn at the Grafton Showground on April 23 to raise funds for flood affected communities in the local area. Image: Emma Prichard

Local fundraiser orchestrates strong community support

Emma Pritchard


The Barn at the Grafton Showground was alive with the sound of music on April 23 as the volunteer members of the Clarence Valley Orchestra delivered a breathtaking performance, captivating the audience who showed their heartfelt appreciation by responding with a standing ovation.

Joined by guest artists, baritone Troy Castle and songbird Lisa Butcher, the performance was a special fundraising event entitled Symphony for Relief, in aid of the Clarence Valley Rotary District 9640 Flood Relief Appeal to support local communities adversely affected by the recent wet weather.

Under the enthusiastic guidance of artistic director and conductor Greg Butcher, the concert encompassed a beautiful mixture of classical pieces, instrumental favourites and medleys from popular films including The Sound of Music, which several members of the audience instantly recognised and happily sang along to.

Throughout the performance, cellist Helen Tucker admitted to sneaking a peak at the audience “every now and then,” and said it was such a thrill to witness a sea of smiles.

“Greg Butcher certainly knows how to put the fun into fundraising,” she said.

“It was so special to share our love of music and to be allowed to entertain once more, and with such an enthusiastic and generous audience too.”

Symphony for Relief was also the first opportunity the Clarence Valley Orchestra had to perform together after a number of volunteer members were prevented from attending rehearsals due to being inundated and cut off by the recent floods.

Speaking with the Clarence Valley Independent following the concert, baritone Troy Castle, who has been affiliated with the Clarence Valley Orchestra since its inception eight years ago, said it was wonderful for everyone to be together again, and to unite to raise funds to assist local communities in need across the region.

“This has been such a special event,” he said proudly.

“Growing up in the Clarence Valley and knowing what the impacts of floods can be like, its really quite a treat to come back and participate in something like this to raise funds to help people cope with the conditions that we’ve had in the last two floods which have been devastating to people on the land, so it’s lovely to be back doing this for a great cause.

“Everyone had such a great time and I think its so important to spread some joy because times have been very difficult lately for a lot of people.”

At the time of publication, the total amount raised from Symphony for Relief was still being tallied.