Record numbers of community musicians attend popular annual APO event

On a sunny September afternoon, the Auckland Town Hall shone with the excited faces of over 350 community musicians who had gathered for a free afternoon of spectacular music-making at the Auckland Philharmonia’s Community Play In event.

Musicians of all abilities took part in this popular annual community initiative; from budding young talent and experienced performers, through to people who hadn’t picked their instrument for years or sung in a choir before. It was a chance to have fun, perform alongside Auckland Philharmonia musicians and connect with others through orchestral music.

Under the baton of talented conductor, David Kay, and choral conductor, Vanessa Kay, an estimated 300 community instrumentalists and 70 community singers rehearsed three music pieces together for two hours alongside APO musicians, then the doors were opened to the public and hundreds watched the epic final combined performance. This event is one of the many free or low-cost events that the orchestra provides through their APO Connecting programme.

Director of APO Connecting, Thomas Hamill, says, “We’re thrilled to see the ever-growing popularity of Community Play In and are proud of the value that it provides by enriching Aucklanders’ lives and removing barriers to orchestral music. It’s a great chance for musicians and singers of all abilities and ages to perform alongside our professional musicians; I love seeing the learning and special connections that occur through beginners and experienced musicians playing side-by-side and performing on such a grand stage as the Auckland Town Hall.”

APO Connecting provides concerts and experiences that bring together Auckland Philharmonia’s professional musicians with communities, schools, and individuals across Tāmaki Makaurau to ignite their passion for orchestral music. Head to to find out about upcoming APO Connecting events and programmes, including a Viola Hang, Harp Hang, and Oboe Hang during October for instrumentalists of all ages and abilities.

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