Taking a strategic approach to orchestral music in the region was the impetus behind Orchestras Central Trust. 

The Trust is an umbrella organisation for orchestral music provision, and enjoyment, in the Waikato and Bay of Plenty. It was set up in 2015, with the support of Trust Waikato and a facilitator, and practical input from Creative Waikato. 

Three organisations (and their associated orchestras) make up the Trust:

  • Waikato Orchestral Society (est. 1904) – its orchestra, Trust Waikato Symphony, is a community orchestra
  • Opus Orchestral Trust (est. 1991) – Opus Orchestra is the Waikato and Bay of Plenty’s only professional orchestra
  • United Youth Orchestra Trust (est. 2003) – the United Youth Orchestra is made up of emerging musicians aged between 13 and 25.

Their common goal? To deliver the best performances, increase the numbers of musicians taking part, and encourage the community to come along to and enjoy their concerts and other programmes. Other aims include increasing funding for orchestral music in the region, and providing music education for children and adults. 

CEO of the Trust, Susan Trodden, says, “The first six months has been about bringing together the talent, expertise and passion from three orchestras and creating a home for all of us. We are already seeing more efficient administration, stronger connections to each other and to other creative organisations, stakeholders and our communities, and better still, growing numbers of people coming and enjoying the music we make”.

That there’s demand for the Trust’s activities is demonstrated by the support the orchestras enjoy. Over 10,000 people attended their events in 2015. Together, they deliver around 30 concerts each year, at 10 venues throughout the Waikato and Bay of Plenty. Each orchestra has its own professional Music Director, and around 300 musicians take part, both voluntary and professional. 

Signature events include the Trust Waikato Symphony Orchestras’ Sunset Symphony, held each year as a part of the Hamilton Gardens Arts Festival; the Trust Waikato Symphony Orchestra education concerts, which this year will see around 1500 school children attend; and the Connection Series presented by Opus Orchestra in collaboration with the Conservatorium at the University of Waikato. 

In August, United Youth Orchestra will also be performing in Te Awamutu for the first time in a number of years, before their annual Spring concert at the Gallagher Academy of Performing Arts. 

Other new additions to the 2016 calendar include Opus Orchestra in a choral collaboration with Bethlehem College; an exciting new programme with Waikato Management School (Orchestrating Outcomes); and, in October, the inaugural Rusty Players Day, aimed at enticing musicians of all levels to pull out their instruments and join in a day of workshops and music, culminating in performing together.         

In the past, Trust Waikato has supported all three Orchestras Central Trust member organisations through its donations programme. Now, we’re thrilled to help this innovative community organisation build orchestral music in the Waikato. For 2015, we donated $10,000 towards the Trust’s initial operating costs. In 2016, we donated $135,000 in strategic partnership funding, for set up and operating costs. 

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