Celebrating 150 Years of music at the Adelaide Town Hall

When the Adelaide Town Hall held its first concert on 21 June, 1866, it was a magnificent occasion of grand speeches, music and of course sumptuous food.

One hundred and fifty years later, on 21 June, 2016, the Adelaide Youth Orchestra (AdYO) joined us to celebrate the momentous event. Once again there were speeches, music and this time a striking Town Hall designed cake.

Lord Mayor Martin Haese and Lady Mayoress opened the evening by welcoming distinguished guests, including His Excellency the Honourable Hieu Van Le AC and wife Mrs. Van Le, Governor of South Australia, Ian Hunter MLC representing Premier Jay Weatherill and Minister for the Arts, Jack Snelling, along with a flock of esteemed guests, family and friends.

He said ‘This evening’s program will be one to remember, featuring rising-star Adelaide pianist, Mekhla Kumar, and 80 of Adelaide’s most talented young musicians, expertly conducted by 2014 City of Adelaide Citizen of the year, Keith Crellin OAM.’

Speaking fondly of the connection between the Town Hall and the City of Adelaide, past and present he remarked ‘South Australian’s have shared many stories, memories and experiences in this remarkable venue – including visits from The Beatles in 1964, and Princess Diana and Prince Charles in 1983, to weddings of family and friends, and performance concerts just like tonight’s.’

With assistance from the orchestra, the Lord Mayor led the audience in a jaunty rendition of Happy Birthday to commemorate the birthday celebrations, while he and the Lady Mayoress cut the cake, which was later enjoyed by the crowd.

As director Keith Crellin OAM took the stage, he held the room in the palm of his hand and with one perfect move from him, the young musicians commenced the program with Wagner’s Prelude to Die Meistersinger.

Later in the evening acclaimed South Australian pianist Mekhla Kumar joined the orchestra as her fingers moved effortlessly across the piano for Beethoven’s Piano Concerto No 4.

During interval the crowd was treated to the magnificent cake, distributed by the Queen Adelaide Society, beautifully dressed in period costume.

Closing to a moved full house, the crowd applauded with delight as the ovation echoed through the iconic auditorium (as would have happened 150 years ago to the day).