THE founder of the Ipswich City Orchestra and passionate figure in Ipswich performing
arts, Gemma D'Aubbonnett has died aged 67 after a battle with cancer.

As he delivered the heartbreaking news of his wife's final days, husband of 43 years, Peter,
said Gemma's last words to him were, "I love you".

The pair devoted themselves to the orchestra and Gemma was also a prolific music
teacher, guiding hundreds of students over the course of her career.

"Somebody put a message up on Facebook and the number of people who have made
comments about Gemma is unbelievable," Mr D'Aubbonnett said."The gift that Gemma had
was incredible. "Everyone who came to one of the orchestra's concerts always came back."

Former Ipswich Events Corporation chairman Paul Casos described Mrs D'Aubbonnett as
a visionary and a dynamo whose belief in her home town drove her to keep going.
"I first met Gemma through my work with Ipswich Events Corporation and it was initially her
passion and her great desire to put Ipswich on the map the struck me," Mr Casos said.
"She firmly believed that Ipswich needed a symphony orchestra to put it on the map.
"The more I got to know her, the more I knew how determined she was to realise that

Mrs D'Aubbonnett, along with her husband, established the orchestra in 2004, often
investing their own money to keep the dream alive. She prided herself on running a
professional organisation and "not just another amateur orchestra".
"By 2004 Gemma was sick of seeing her best and brightest students give up because there
was nowhere for them to play, so she approached the town fathers for assistance to start
an orchestra," Mr D'Aubbonnett said.
"Because of her determination, Ipswich now has a symphony orchestra 14 years later."
After hitting tough times in 2016, Gemma made a public appeal for $100,000 funding to
keep the orchestra going. Performers were paid a fee each rehearsal and performance,
and the orchestra relied heavily on private sponsorship to cover costs such as the fees for
music scores and venue hire.

Queensland Times Senior Matters columnist Wayne McDonnell was a big fan of the
Ipswich City Orchestra's work.
Writing about the performance of Souvenirs d'Espana in May, last year Mr McDonnell said
the show was "simply intoxicating".
"The Ipswich City Orchestra is Ipswich's resident orchestra and is the only professional
orchestra resident outside of a capital city in Australia," Mr McDonnell wrote.
"Ipswich should be very proud to have this extraordinary orchestra."
But he also spoke of the big challenges in funding that Mrs D'Aubbonnett faced.
"These things don't just happen. They only happen because of people with vision like
Gemma D'Aubbonnett who dreamt of Ipswich having its own orchestra. Yet it is still a
battle," he said. "The orchestra has no major sponsor and maintaining a professional
orchestra is quite expensive." Mr Casos said Ms D'Aubbonnet would have contributed to
the musical education of hundreds of young people."She never let us down. She was an
absolute visionary and a dynamo," he said.

Gemma was a proud mother of two sons - Julian and Jean-Paul.
She died at the Wesley Hospital on Saturday, December 15, with husband Peter by her
A memorial concert will be held on April 27 next year, and Mr D'Aubbonnett has appealed
for donations for the concert, which will be called Festival Gala Romance of the Movies.

Phone Mr D'Aubbonnett on 0438412907
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Article from The Queensland Times Quouble click to edit
16-01-1951  -  15-12-2018

Founded in 2004, Ipswich City
Symphony is a regional, professional
orchestra situated in the City of
Ipswich, Queensland, Australia. 


Ipswich City Symphony 
P.O. Box 194,
Ipswich  Q  4305
Tel. + 61 0438 412 907