NB-U3A Rock Orchestra

The 3rd Age Rock Orchestra

U3A’s 3rd Age Rock Orchestra was established by Northern Beaches member
Harvey Broadbent early in 2018 and has entertained members with many performances. How Harvey came to this role was featured in the May 2022 edition of the Pittwater Peninsula Living magazine and can be viewed here.

The most recent sell out concert ‘A Hippie Time’ was held on 21 September and featured a nostalgic trip to the music of the 60s. The audience sang (and some danced) to a great selection of music from the era – the hippie costumes were amazing and all entered into the spirit of the event. Here is a selection of photos, with thanks to Laurie and Vivien Wilson.


Below are some photos, taken by member Laurie Wilson, of the Jive Dance event on 31 March, held in conjunction with the NSW Seniors Festival. As you can see, a great time was had by all.


Updates from Harvey Broadbent:

15 December 2021
The 3rd Age Rock Orchestra Returns to the Stage

Northern Beaches U3A’s 3rd Age Rock Orchestra came out of major Covid lockdown restrictions on 15 December and presented their first concert in over a year. Audience numbers to the ‘welcome back’ concert, ‘A Soundtrack of Our Lives’, still had to be restricted to one hundred, so the free tickets were in great demand amongst U3A members. 3ARO Leader, Harvey Broadbent, reports the orchestra were in fine form as they have been able to have their weekly rehearsals for a few months within social distancing measures.

The afternoon rocked along with the usual appreciative audience. All the ROllers (as the orchestra members call themselves) hope 2022 will be restrictions free allowing more concerts to be planned.

Harvey Broadbent says that, after the summer break, the orchestra will be rehearsing for the next concert. It will be called ‘A Hippy Time’, a documentary musical journey through the music of the 1960s Hippy period – how it emerged, how it developed and where it led. Some great songs to enjoy live again from ‘The Age of Aquarius’ and ‘Let the Sunshine In’ to ‘Stairway to Heaven’ and ‘Hey Jude’ to name just a few.


26 February 2021
With the slight easing of Covid 19 restrictions, we have been joyfully meeting and practising again since the beginning of February. Covid restrictions still only allow 100 people in a venue so it is not yet feasible for us to stage a concert. There are thirty five of us on the stage as it is!

If and when that figure is increased we plan to stage another concert for U3A members and friends. We actually have one under rehearsal at present. It’s a little different from previous concerts in that it has a theme and title, namely “A Hippy Time”, featuring songs and narration from the period of the hippies in the 1960s. We expect many U3A members will recall those long-haired heady days.

The concert will be a kind of live musical documentary with an educational/social historical underpinning. As such, it actually fits in with U3A’s ethos as well as being a fun and entertaining show.

We will keep U3Aers informed, till then we rock on….


6 November 2020
As Covid19 restrictions eased in the state, Northern Beaches U3A’s 3rd Age Rock Orchestra met live for the first time since March this year on 28 October. Fortnightly Zoom sessions have been successful in keeping the orchestra together during the several months of lockdown. Thank you to the NB U3A committee for their support in arranging with NB Council for the hire of the Ted Blackwood Memorial Hall.

Three follow up sessions are arranged for November and December.

The 3ARO hope that 2021 will see them return to their home venue at Narrabeen Baptist Church and that the new year will bring the opportunity to stage some new concerts or even a dance or two.

[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sAV24F3HB6k]


5 September 2020
During these CoronaVirus lockdown days the U3A’s 3rd Age Rock Orchestra has met ‘virtually’ and regularly using Zoom. That way they can continue to be creative and play their music even though distanced physically from each other.

This original song was written by the orchestra’s vocalist and guitarist Francis Buttle and produced by leader Harvey Broadbent as a project for the weird times we’re living through and to maintain the orchestra’s creativity.

The 3ARO hope you have a ball with ‘Having a Ball’!

[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Tr-pHS4mfUw]


Pre-COVID performances:

‘The Ages of Rock’

What an uplifting way to spend a winter’s afternoon (10 July 2019) – listening and singing along to the rock ‘n’ roll songs from our life. Memories of great songs by Chuck Berry, Bill Haley and the Comets, Little Richard, The Beatles, The Shadows, Elvis Presley, The Beach Boys, Gerry Rafferty (amongst others) as well as the more recent sounds of The Traveling Wilburys, Alison Krauss and REM had the audience singing, tapping their feet and dancing the afternoon away.
The photo above shows some of the orchestra led by Harvey Broadbent and the backing singers, the Hirollers, singing a medley of Buddy Holly songs.


‘Oh what a night!’

The opening words of the Frankie Valli song certainly rang true on the evening of 12 September 2018 when Narrabeen Baptist Church came alive to the sounds of The 3rd Age Rock Orchestra’s first public performance, The Classic Rock of Ages Show.

3ARO was established by Harvey Broadbent approximately six months ago and has grown to about 30 amateur musicians and singers. The audience was thrilled to be taken back in time by listening, singing along and dancing to popular rock ‘n’ roll and rock ballad music from that era as well as more modern songs from the 1970s to the present day. The evening was a resounding success and the orchestra received a well deserved standing ovation
at the end of their repertoire.

Interval refreshments were served by U3A committee members and volunteers and a collection during the evening resulted in $720 being donated to the Farmers Drought Assistance Fund.

In ‘normal’ times 3ARO meets at the Narrabeen Baptist Church each Wednesday afternoon. All instrumentalists and singers are U3A members and amateur players at various stages of progress and levels on their instruments. The common thread is the joy, fun and stimulation of playing popular music together.


If you would like further information
please contact Harvey Broadbent by email or on 0414 486 675

Return to top of page