A cold Autumn night did little to quell the enthusiasm of the 300 strong audience at Dungog's historic James Theatre for the inaugural concert in the town by the Australian Chamber Orchestra - regarded by some critics as one of the finest chamber orchestras in the world.
Music lovers came from Dungog, Newcastle, the Blue Mountains and Sydney for the event on April 21.
Among them was pro-vice chancellor for academic excellence at Newcastle University professor Jennifer Milam and history lecturer at the university Dr Garritt Van Dyke.
"It's amazing. To have a high quality string orchestra like this come to regional NSW is a great treat," said Dr Van Dyke.
"The exposure it gives people and this sort of access to classical music is terrific.
"It makes a big difference to see music live, to be in a concert hall, which is a novelty at the moment because of coronavirus. So to have this level of music being played right here and an interesting selection for the program is fantastic."
Professor Milam said she was pleased to find she was sitting next to three rows of students from Dungog High School.
"They're in their late teens, and it's just really wonderful for them to be able to see this quality of music."
She appreciated the complexity of the program which included works by not only Bach, Mendelssohn and Tchaikovsky but also the 20th century Finish composer Einjuhani Rautavaara.