Living in Auckland Central is a music nerd’s dream. I study music, I listen to music in my down time, and honestly I connected most of my friends through our interest in music. This sounds a tad cliché, but it’s true. When I realised the Auckland Town Hall puts on orchestral concerts regularly – well I’m sure you can imagine just how happy I was.

Credit: 2023 Auckland Arts Festival.

A few days ago, I bought a last minute ticket to the Auckland Philharmonia Orchestra, a performance called Romantic Rhapsody. I wasn’t really sure what to expect – I didn’t grow up listening to much orchestral music. Usually, I’d be listening to your stock standard pop music, mixed with a fair share of “sad girl” playlists for added flavour. When I sat down in my chair, I was mostly just hoping I’d like the music that was played.

What I got was a performance which genuinely blew me away, quite literally. My back was on the wall with the force of the brass during the first half of the show. I left the Town Hall feeling like I’d been let in on some kind of secret, that the music I’d just heard was a special gift just for me. From where I sat, I could clearly see the faces of musicians who are seemingly born for this kind of performance. I saw concentration, passion, even love in the eyes of the players as they danced their way through the score. 

As students, the APO actually has a great deal available to us. The APO Go program gives us access to extremely cheap tickets for these world class shows. To put into perspective just how worth it these tickets are, let’s compare another show I went to (gotta love the music scene of Auckland). I spent $80 on a ticket to see The Driver Era, an American band, for their performance at The Powerstation (a really cool venue for indie and pop music). There, I stood at the back to see music I listen to on Spotify everyday. It was a great experience, but compared to the $10 student tickets to the APO with comfortable seats in a beautiful, historic building? I think that’s a bit more bang for your buck.

What I hope that you see from my night at the APO is that there is some amazing, homegrown art here in Auckland. Check it out! You may just discover your next new obsession.