The Auckland Symphony Orchestra is a community-based orchestra formed in 1975 by its founding musical director, Gary Daverne, who was succeeded in 2011 by Peter Thomas. The players are drawn from all parts of Auckland and from all walks of life. The orchestra provides an opportunity for musicians who have chosen a career outside music, to enjoy weekly rehearsals of symphonic music, playing without payment and purely for the pleasure of making good music together. The orchestra also supports local young soloists, giving them the opportunity to perform with a full symphony orchestra, in concert.The orchestra’s main philosophy is that music should be fun and enjoyed by players and audiences alike - hence the regular, Free Family concerts that are offered in Auckland with out-of-town concerts in areas where a live performance by a Symphony Orchestra is a rare event. Today, the Auckland Symphony Orchestra, with over eighty players, has developed an excellent following and reputation for its high quality performances of popular classics, film and show music, often playing to capacity and turn-away audiences. Regular annual features of the orchestra are the two sell-out performances of Last Night of the Proms and the Free Christmas Sing Along with local Pacific Island youth choirs.