This is what THANK YOU sounds like

Queensland Symphony Orchestra in association with Queensland Performing Arts Centre (QPAC) performs for frontline workers in epic concert event

This is what thank you sounds like – Queensland Symphony Orchestra performed on the Concert Hall stage at Queensland Performing Arts Centre (QPAC) under the baton of Maestro Johannes Fritzsch with ARIA-award winner and internationally acclaimed didgeridoo virtuoso William Barton, for over 1,600 frontline workers – FOR FREE to say THANK YOU to the frontline workers that have served their community through fire, flood, crime, and of course, COVID-19.

Queensland Symphony Orchestra Executive Director Valmay Hill said this concert was the perfect opportunity to acknowledge the hard work of our frontline workers and take some time to reflect on the challenges of the last two years. “This special concert was free to healthcare workers, firefighters, police, and ambulance officers – who have all risked their own personal safety and wellbeing to selflessly protect us,” she said. “Queensland Symphony Orchestra performed a breathtaking program of music that inspired. We owe a great deal to those who have given their best work to look after us, and in return we offered our best work – our music-making – to express our gratitude.”

In what was a truly special experience, William Barton returned to perform his work, Apii Thatini Mu Murtu (To sing and carry a coolamon on country together), which had its world premiere with Queensland Symphony Orchestra in June this year. In addition to Barton’s new work, the concert featured music from beloved composers such as Beethoven, Bernstein, Gershwin, Dvořák, Ravel, and more in an uplifting and joyous program.

QPAC Chief Executive John Kotzas AM said Queensland’s frontline workers consistently changed lives and even saved lives through their everyday work which was extraordinary and worthy of celebration. “We believe there is power in coming together to enjoy live performance; it connects us and provides a vital sense of belonging. We’re very pleased to dedicate our Concert Hall to the people who have worked so tirelessly and under such incredibly challenging conditions over the past two years in particular, to keep us safe,” he said. “We hope the uplifting music program, with new work alongside adored classics, will go some way to restoring spirits and conveying the gratitude that we as a community feel for our frontline workers.”

Elizabeth Spring, Volunteer Rural Firefighter with the Flinders Peak Rural Brigade fought the 2019 fires in Glen Innes and Canberra, and the dreadful 2019 and January 2020 fires across Boonah and behind Wivenhoe Dam in South East Queensland said,
“I never thought of myself as a frontline worker, I just go in, do what have to do, and I love doing what I do. Every fire is different and you’re there to do a job and save lives and livestock and hopefully property if we can. I have always wanted to give back, and help the community, it’s a good feeling to now that we can save lives.”

Nurse Alex Lyons works at the Prince Charles Paediatric Emergency Department and said the past 18 months had changed many parts of the health care services. “I did a lot of time in the fever clinic on triage, and that was hectic. Some days were calm, and some days there was no time to think. We were all learning every day, it was a constant state of change, we all had to learn to adapt and this remains so today. Every day presents new rules and new circumstances. There’s so much that’s unknown but we are lucky here in Queensland, we are in a better situation than so many countries. I actually felt lucky that I could go to work, and make a difference.”

Also supporting this special concert event was Health and Wellbeing Queensland, Principal Partner of Queensland Symphony Orchestra’s Health and Wellbeing program. Health and Wellbeing Queensland Chief Executive Dr Robyn Littlewood said the concert was an important opportunity for frontline workers to take time for their own wellbeing. “The effort of Queensland’s frontline workers in supporting the community during these unprecedented times has been extraordinary. It is so important we can find ways to nourish and care for them too, and music is one very powerful tool at our disposal. The importance of music can’t be underestimated. Listening to music helps improve our physical, mental and emotional health. Concerts such as We’re sharing the joy – our thank you to frontline workers showcases the healing power of music and the ways it positively influences our wellbeing every day.”

QSO’s Health and Wellbeing Program is a multi-tiered, long-term program that features partnerships across the corporate, community and research worlds, aimed at working together to better understand and use the power of music to bring about hope, health, and happiness.

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