Outreach and Community

Orchestra for Life was founded by Roger Benedict through his desire to use music to highlight social justice issues, and to help raise money for Indigenous mental health and suicide prevention charities. The Concert for Life series of concerts – which he conducts and helps organise – has already raised significant sums for these charities and has helped heighten awareness of the issues they work to address. Now, through a comprehensive outreach program, Orchestra for Life will redefine the role of the orchestra in the 21st Century and work to forge meaningful connections with the widest possible audience.

Roger is on a mission to take orchestral music to settings where it is rarely found, and regularly takes the musicians from his ensemble to prison, presenting workshops and performances for inmates. This report on ABC’s 7.30 program gives an insight into this work: http://www.abc.net.au/7.30/content/2015/s4228062.htm 

Written comments from inmates following workshops led by Roger at a NSW maximum security prison:

“I find it uplifting and entertaining.  As I wasn’t expecting the day to be exciting.  I thought it would have been dull and boring but it has opened by eyes in regards to a different form of music that I can enjoy and that I will even go and see a concert once I’m released.  Roger was great in speaking about how everyone comes together to make it all sound wonderful and he also made it much easier to understand what each persons role was and how important everyone was to each other to get the best out of what they were trying to achieve.  Much like in our everyday life – we have to work as a team to get the most out of ourselves”

“I enjoyed myself and I learned a lot about that sort of music, I think today planted a very, very small seed in my and now I can try to listen for the different instruments in the music”

“ at one stage when they played I got goose bumps, I was sceptical but after this I would go to see this once I’m out for sure”

” the best day in 7 years jail”

“I went into this workshop without any knowledge on classical music, by the end of the day they had opened by mind to this genre.  The communication and team work was masterful”

“It was a really good experience and I am now a classical music fan!”

“It was good to listen to the classical music – it opened my mind up and took me away from this world.  I was at one with peace”

“It was a fantastic event, now I want to become a conductor”

” I don’t believe I’ve had more peaceful sleep since I’ve been incarcerated as soon as I lay down and closed my eyes a few hours later it was only that the music was still sounding in my head and I found it very soothing and had an amazing sleep”

“It was one of the best experiences I have had – I’ve never heard that kind of music before.  the music made me very happy in my mind.  I want it once per month.  I very, very much liked it – opened my mind to music”

“Thank you for inviting me, this was the best experience I’ve ever had in my life”