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Perfect pitch as $25 million Con job complete

Sam Farraway (hat) with media and members of the ORC. Supplied.

July 21, 2022

By Peter Holmes

What do you do when you've secured a total of $25 million from all three levels of government to build a new Orange Regional Conservatorium?

You get on with fundraising, of course.

Nationals MLC and roads minister Sam Farraway was in the city today to announce the NSW state government had found $5 million to kick in towards the mammoth project.

That means there is now the required $25 million to start (and hopefully) complete the build.

Digital impression. Orange City Council.

Farraway told The Orange News Examiner he had spent more than two years agitating for the money.

He said the investment would see musicians and enthusiasts of the arts enjoy the same opportunities as their counterparts in the city, providing both a rehearsal space and an auditorium to watch local, interstate and international performances.

Donna Riles, the director of the Conservatorium, put the funding success down to “years of dedication and hard work by so many members of our music community”.

"The Orange Regional Conservatorium has long outgrown its current home on Hill Street, which it has occupied since 1994," said the ORC.

"An organisation that had its roots in two small cottages in Lords Place, now boasts a community of 1,800 participants, 41 community groups and 42 staff."

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Farraway said the upgrade will "deliver an economic uptick for Orange, providing enormous opportunities to bolster our local educational, arts and events sectors. Bigger purpose-built facilities means Orange City Council can pitch for performances such as acoustic-only concerts from internationally acclaimed artists”.

Ben Franklin, minister for the arts, said the new conservatorium will include a state-of-the-art auditorium, performance hall and studio space.

Iron required. Supplied.

“Once completed, this funding will effectively triple the available rehearsal space, provide a 50 percent increase in studio space, and increase auditorium seats from 185 to 250,” he said.

The federal government pledged $10 million in 2019; Orange City Council pledged $5 million in 2020, and another $5 million in 2021.

The development application has been approved by council and the Western Region Planning Panel.

“After years of hard work, it’s now time to make this dream a reality,” mayor Jason Hamling said.

The conservatorium will be co-located with a planetarium in the Byng Street civic precinct.

The funds will pay for the completion of the buildings, but the fit out of rooms, purchase of instruments and “other inclusions” will be the con's responsibility.

“So, it will now be full steam ahead on fundraising,” said the ORC.

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