Orchestral performance plans fall flat as costs exceed expectations

Millicent has again been overlooked by the Adelaide Symphony Orchestra as funding and scheduling challenges for a proposed performance in the coming months could not be overcome.

It has not performed in Millicent for almost 40 years.

Known widely as the ASO, its last local performance was at the Millicent War Memorial Civic and Arts Centre in 1983.

If plans had fallen into place, the November performance was set to be one of the highlights of the belated program to mark the 150th anniversary of the township of Millicent.

Then known as the South Australian Symphony Orchestra, it headlined Millicent’s centenary celebrations in 1970 in that newly- opened civic centre.

Senior Wattle Range Council personnel had been working behind-the-scenes in recent months on this year’s 150th program.

A recent staff report to a monthly council meeting revealed how close the orchestral performance in 2021 came to fruition.

Development services director Emma Clay said council had originally allocated $10,000 for orchestral expenses in its preliminary draft 2021/22 budget.

However, Ms Clay said this sum was deleted in June when confirmation of the dates was not provided by the ASO.

“Council staff have since liaised with the Adelaide Symphony Orchestra about the possibility of timing a visit with (November’s) Millicent 150th Celebration,” Ms Clay said.

“Unfortunately, despite negotiating a possible reduced capacity visit to try and lower the cost, the total expense of the exercise would be more than $20,000 when allowing for accommodation for the exceptionally large entourage.

“Additionally, the Adelaide Symphony Orchestra was not available for any dates in November – this month being pre-organised with the National Trust as the preferred month.

“Due to the recent COVID lockdown, the Adelaide Symphony Orchestra needed to reschedule their cancelled commitments and required a definite booking from council to secure any dates before the end of the year.

“Due to the activity being outside of the proposed budget, leaving no funds for any other activities to celebrate the 150th anniversary, we declined the offer and thanked the Adelaide Symphony Orchestra for their quotation and interest in playing in Millicent.”

Ms Clay said council staff have continued to liaise with local stakeholders to draft a program for the 150th anniversary celebrations that captures the essence of Millicent, the history, stories, community and future.

“The draft program draws on local talent (past and present) for the entertainment, reaffirming the theme of celebrating the ‘place’ of Millicent,” she said.

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