I moved to Brisbane in 2009 having through the years lived in The Netherlands, UK, South Africa, Qatar and now Australia. I'm a single mum with three kids always looking for penny pinching ways to have fun and discover new places and things to do.
When you have the opportunity to blow your own horn, you can hardly let it go to waste. So when my son asked for his opportunity I could not refuse. We signed up for the World's Biggest Orchestra challenge hoping to beat the previous record of 6452 set in Vancouver in 2000.
The World's Biggest Orchestra Challenge is the kick off for the Queensland Music Festival which runs statewide until 28 July this year and there could not have been a more exciting start to it this year. And while you would not normally associate Suncorp Stadium with an Orchestral Manoeuvre, there were few alternatives left that could house this majestic orchestral event.
Arriving at Suncorp Stadium the sea of blue t-shirt proclaiming "I'm in the World's Biggest Orchestra Challenge" gave you an immediate sense that there was a distinct possibility that this attempt could actually be successful. There were musicians - professionals, beginners, teachers, students - all running through the score one last time, warming up, preparing for success or just kicking the rust off after years of not playing. All there to achieve a world record.
At 3:07, a roaring crowd welcomed James Morrison to the field. As he entered on his Sedgeway scooter playing his trumpet the excitement in the Stadium rose to levels akin to the moment Queensland won the second Origin game. There was one question on everyone's lips - did we make it?
Then the announcement came - Seven thousand, one hundred and something musicians and still counting. But this was only one part of the challenge - the other was playing together as an orchestra, in tune, for more than 5 minutes the three pieces, specifically chosen for the event. After some musical banter - (yes, musicians have their own weird sense of humour apparently!) the serious business started; the instruments all tuned in, the first piece was attempted. All went well, as with the second piece. Everyone played together, in tune, no musicians stopped playing midway, everyone was burning to beat the Canadians, but then came the last tune - 'Another One Bites the Dust' and so did the World's Biggest Orchestra for a moment!
The beat seamed to get away from some musicians as they found it difficult to hear the instruments on the other side of the stadium. They tried three times and failed. The mood became slightly sombre but James Morrison had not come to conduct the biggest orchestra he was ever to see and fail at setting the record. He picked up his trumpet and lead the orchestra while he conducted it and it sounded damn well amazing!
And then came the final announcement -
7223 musicians, excluding the conductor, James Morrison, made history by playing 'Waltzing Matilda' (what better Australian folk song?), 'Ode de Joy' (a 7223 strong unity to be celebrated here!) and 'Another One Bites the Dust' - because let's face it - the Canadian Record set in Vancouver in 2000 had just done that!