THE existence of the Mount Isa Symphony Orchestra is almost a conundrum to legendary trumpeter James Morrison.
The Queensland Music Festival director believes it could be the most remote symphony orchestra in the world.
“Normally in a community you need a lot of people playing music before you get enough of them to form an orchestra.
“You just don’t get symphony orchestras in cities this size,” Morrison said.
“It’s fantastic and extraordinary and quite frankly it’s what we’ve come to expect from Mount Isa.”
Almost 500 people will form the orchestra which will have its world premiere at the Mount Isa Civic Centre in July, where it will perform a commissioned work inspired by the region.
“It’s a big deal anywhere in the world when a symphony orchestra starts, and it’s a big deal anywhere in the world when a new work is commissioned for an orchestra to play,” Morrison said.
“To have both on the same night…I don’t know if I’ve ever heard that happening.
“I see a lot of things in music around the world and I don’t see this.”
Morrison said the orchestra was formed after an increase of musical interest caused by the Swinging Utes project in 2013.
He heard there was an “unbelievable” increase in activity among local school students, with music programs filled.
“I said to Yvonne [Moore], ‘do you think we’ve got enough people to put together a symphony orchestra?’, because that’s part of the pinnacle of instrumental music – a symphony orchestra.
“They [Mount Isa] took it as a challenge,” Morrison said.
“It was just a question by the way, but just fantastic.”
Mount Isa Strings teacher Yvonne Moore – who is the Queensland Music Festival’s local Liaison officer – believes there is a “cultural heartbeat” in Mount Isa.
Talented musicians had been drawn to Mount Isa as far as England and South Africa for work opportunities.
“The diversification that comes not only from mining but the employment areas within our town brings all these people to Mount Isa,” she said.
But music was only one part of the heartbeat..
“There are so many pockets of things happening.
“This town is so diverse, it’s so cultural, and it has got so many things to offer.”