In the late 1970s, the municipal orchestra based in Dumfries folded through lack of interest and falling musical standards.
Then from around 1985 an ad-hoc orchestra called the Galloway Chamber Orchestra, based in Newton Stewart, came into being under the leadership of Dave Montgomery from Creetown. This took the form of a group of his friends and colleagues from the region and beyond giving a concert every spring in Newton Stewart and occasionally elsewhere.
In 1995, Girthon Church, Gatehouse of Fleet hosted a performance of the Faure Requiem 'from scratch' with an ad hoc group of musicians. One of the violinists, Sarah Berker, subsequently asked the conductor, Geoff Keating, if he would conduct the first performance of her 'Caerlaverlock Suite', written for the 40th anniversary celebrations of the Caerlaverock National Nature Reserve. The sights and sounds of both the NNR and adjacent Wildlfowl and Wetlands Trust Reserve were the inspiration for her work. A concert was organised in Easterbrook Hall, Dumfries on October 12th 1997 with an orchestra of some sixty players.
From the success of this event spawned the idea of an orchestra which would convene as required for a couple of concerts each year. We are very fortunate that Geoff continues to conduct us - click here to read a little potted history about him. Members are drawn from a very wide area - from Ayr to Penrith and from Whithorn to Jedburgh. It relies on the goodwill of its members who play for the love of it and also on generous sponsorship and patronage. Dumfries & Galloway Council in particular have kindly funded travelling expenses for musicians so that we can genuinely make it a Region wide resource.
We have aimed to put on a major concert in Dumfries in the late Autumn with a smaller event in the Spring elsewhere. So far we have performed in Newton Stewart, Lockerbie, Castle Douglas, Carlisle, Kirkcudbright, Gatehouse of Fleet, Langholm, Annan, Stranraer and Moffat. We would value any suggestions for other suitable venues.
Our tenth anniversary was celebrated in November 2007 by a performance of a new work written for us by Geoff Keating - Festival Fantasia : "More Geese Than Swans".