When the Come Together Choir turned up for their usual Tuesday morning rehearsal they had no idea of the generosity heading their way.
No sooner had they finished a rendition of ‘Rockin’ Robin’ when OCTEC announced to the group they were donating $350,000 for the fit-out of the new Orange Regional Conservatorium (ORC).
The cost of the conservatorium has been funded by federal, state and local governments with any donations to Music Within going towards pianos, music stands, specialist chairs, staging equipment, teaching resources, instruments, furniture, technology and more.
ORC Director Donna Riles said they had been taken aback by the offer.
“It’s such an exciting day, we’ve been very surprised by this wonderful gift from OCTEC for the fit out of the new conservatorium here in Orange,” she said. “We’re very humbled by the size of the gift.”
OCTEC Chair Jeff Whitton said the donation simply made sense given the organisations’ similarities.
“This institution has done so much for Orange over the years and will continue to do so,” he said.
“In a small way we’d like to be a part of your journey.
“We felt this was a good investment from our organisation to a fellow not-for-profit that gives back to the community every day.”
The conservatorium recently had final design plans locked in with construction to begin later this year.
The $25 million project will feature a 280-seat auditorium, 64-seat planetarium, 40 rehearsal spaces, a foyer, bar, kitchen, offices, and bathrooms.
Dr Pam Ryan, Chair of the ORC management committee, said they were very grateful for the support.
“It’s such a huge contribution to our fundraiser,” she said.
“We are almost already halfway there. I’m surprised and humbled and very grateful.
“The Orange community has been so supportive.”