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History of the USO

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The early years – the Glen Osmond Chamber Orchestra

The development of the current Unley Symphony Orchestra started with humble beginnings in September 1980, when a small group of amateur musicians met informally in a private home in Maylands, which resulted in their inaugural concert at The Helping Hand Retirement Home in North Adelaide just before Christmas in 1980. Owing to the growth in member numbers, rehearsals moved in 1981 to the hall of St. Saviour's Anglican Church in Glen Osmond, and as the size of the orchestra increased further, it moved its rehearsals to the Glen Osmond Primary School. This group was named The Glen Osmond Chamber Orchestra.

The Unley Chamber Orchestra

In 1983, the Unley City Council agreed to provide the Unley Civic Centre as a weekly rehearsal facility, and, to reflect this support, the orchestra changed its name to The Unley Chamber Orchestra. Later, the Unley City Council agreed  to further support the orchestra by moving rehearsals to the Unley Town Hall free of charge. The orchestra continues to acknowledge the support of the Unley City Council in enriching the artistic life of the city.

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The Unley Symphony Orchestra

In July 2003, the continued growth of the orchestra resulted in changing its name to The Unley Symphony Orchestra. Its last concert as The Unley Chamber Orchestra was in August 2003, and the name change was launched at the November concert the same year. The orchestra performed its annual series of concerts in St. Augustine's Church in the heart of Unley from 1986 until May 2016. The acoustic and setting of this venue was ideal until, once again, the size of the orchestra exceeded the space available.

From August 2016 to May 2018 concerts were held in the Gillingham Hall of Annesley Junior School, which is also located in the Unley Council area. Since November 2018, concerts have been held in the Helen Reid Hall at the Walford Anglican School for Girls in Hyde Park, where the hall comfortably accommodates the full orchestra and soloists. The tiered seating arrangement also gives the audience a much clearer view of the musicians. In addition, Walford owns a grand piano of good quality, which has allowed more piano soloists the opportunity to perform concertos with the orchestra.

We continue to be grateful for the opportunity to contribute to the artistic events of the City of Unley. In celebration of the city's sequicentenary, the USO performed a special concert as part of the city's celebration. A Youtube video of the occasion is available to be viewed.