The Narrogin Hay Bales Concert is now three months away and unprecedented community interest has left organisers with “a really good problem to have” — the challenge of raising $35,000. Perth Symphony Orchestra CEO Catherine Henwood was pleasantly surprised at the success of the PSO Green Shoots program, which kicked off the concert project in April 2022. “We didn’t know what the response from the community would be,” she said. “We thought we might get 40 participants and we now have 140 participants. “It’s amazing and at this point, we really need support from the community to help achieve the potential of the event.” With participation far beyond expectations, the scale of the project undertaken by the PSO in partnership with Arts Narrogin has exceeded initial costings. “Putting 40 people on stage alongside an orchestra is very different from putting 140 people on stage,” Ms Henwood said. “It impacts the size of the stage, the number of microphones, the sound and the lighting. “It’s a really good problem to have though, it’s such a strong statement about the creative talent that is in Narrogin and the area.” Funding for the project has been provided by Lotterywest and Ms Henwood said that the PSO would seek an additional grant to augment money raised by the orchestra’s newly launched Go Fund Me page. “We always knew that we were going to have to raise a bit of money in the community, and that was part of what made the project attractive to Lotterywest,” Ms Henwood said. “It’s just that the project has grown so much that it has really had an impact on the cost.” Since April last year, members of the PSO have visited Narrogin regularly to help guide musicians, choirs and ensembles on the path to performance as part of the orchestra’s Green Shoots project. The November concert, which will be held on a Narrogin farm in an outdoor arena made of hay bales, will be the culmination of 18 months of work and an Australian first. “The reason it is so exciting for Narrogin is that we’ve been promoting the project model to other regions and there’s been heaps of interest — there are a lot of eyes on Narrogin, not only within the State,” Ms Henwood said. “We are going to be broadcasting the concert through the Australian Digital Concert Hall, which means it’ll be streamed not only nationally but globally, it’s really going to put Narrogin on the map.” The PSO program has received support from Narrogin Carpet Court, Bella’s Country Place B&B and Wheatbelt newcomers Neoen as well as Liberal Member for the Agricultural Region Steve Martin. Ms Henwood said the event would also benefit from collaboration with Narrogin Revheads, which will be holding its own event on November 18. “Because the annual Revheads event is around the same time we’ve planned to have our concert the week after so that we can share some of the costs,” she said. “If they’re hiring a generator, for example, they will extend the hire period for a week and we can use it and share the cost with them rather than doing two separate hires. “Revheads have been instrumental in helping guide us with advice on traffic management and things like that.” Donations towards the event can be made via The Narrogin Hay Bales Go Fund Me page. Perth Symphony Orchestra is a registered charity and donations are tax deductible.