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Melbourne Symphony Orchestra presents unique musical tribute to AFL

Melbourne Symphony Orchestra presents unique musical tribute to AFL
July 1, 2020

The Melbourne Symphony Orchestra has partnered with the AFL in a unique musical tribute, the ‘AFL Club Anthem Project’ to celebrate the return of the 2020 Toyota AFL Premiership Season.

During the COVID-19 lockdown period, MSO musicians came together to record a refrain of their beloved football club’s classic anthem on their centuries-old instruments.

Many of the traditional club songs date back further than the AFL itself, with the oldest – Brisbane’s use of the French revolutionary anthem La Marseillaise from 1792 and Geelong’s use of The Toreador Song from composer George Bizet’s famous opera Carmen, written in 1875.

In addition, two of the AFL’s major clubs use classic tunes from the great American songbook; Collingwood’s Goodbye Dolly Gray from 1897 and Richmond’sRow, Row, Row from 1912.

In more recent years the AFL has introduced modern anthems such as last years’ crowd favourite There’s a Big, Big Sound for the GWS GIANTS, which reached popularity in the lead up to the 2019 Toyota AFL Grand Final.

With a love for providing world-class entertainment at the forefront of both organisations, MSO Conductor Benjamin Northey stated "you would be amazed how many musicians and staff in the MSO are passionate footy fans.

“These 'socially-distanced' MSO versions were a lot of fun to record while also speaking to the time we are all going through. We love seeing our team celebrate with a rousing rendition of the club song after a game. Just like the AFL, we can’t wait to get back to doing what we do best for the people of Melbourne again when it's safe for crowds to return."

Explaining that the partnership with the Melbourne Symphony Orchestra shows how important club anthems are to fans, AFL General Manager of Growth, Digital, and Audiences Darren Birch added "the club anthem is a part of football’s rich history and tradition. Every player and fan, from the elite competition to the grassroots game embraces the club anthem with pride.

“Seeing fans within the Melbourne Symphony Orchestra don their club apparel and get into the football spirit in the ‘The AFL Club Anthem Project’ is just another reason why we love to celebrate the football community. A combination of fine arts and football – both are about as iconic ‘Melbourne’ as you can get.”

Image: Melbourne Symphony Orchestra musicians Michael Willson, Trinette McClimont, Freya-Franzen and Ann Blackburn at the Marvel Stadium. Courtesy of AFL Media.

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