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13 mai 2008

Wiltshire music centre delighted at turnout

Just under 3,000 people - twice the number expected - flocked to Wiltshire Music Centre on Saturday to join in the Centre's 10th birthday celebrations, Live & Free @ WMC.

Staff, volunteers and trustees were delighted with the response, particularly as many of the attenders, including families, young people and senior citizens from all over the county, had not visited Wiltshire Music Centre before.

Performance highlights included the polished junk percussionists Weapons of Sound, who thrilled two packed out audiences, who danced and sung along with the musicians - ears have only just stopped ringing! In a completely different style, renowned jazz pianist, Jason Rebello, whose many performance credits include tours and recordings with Sting, wowed visitors with a stunning display of melodic jazz, joined by Jim Smith on saxophone - the perfect music for a sunny afternoon.

Elsewhere, hundreds joined in salsa workshops and then practised their new skills to the sounds of Afro-Cuban dance band K'Chevre; while Alex Lupo of Bristol-based ska, reggae and hip-hop band, Babyhead ran a music technology workshop for local teenagers, who were able to burn a CD of their efforts to take home.

Music Makers taster sessions were overflowing with tiny tots and the air was full of the sounds of percussion instruments made out of junk by older children, led by Venetia Shah-Daydu whose festival credits include Glastonbury and WOMAD. Throughout the day, talented Jazz Factory musicians invited people to join in or just enjoy their jamming sessions and accomplished performances, while members of Singing in the Round entertained with their beautiful harmony singing.

The accompanying food, craft and plant stalls were also popular with attenders - many left with bulging gift bags crammed with everything from jewellery and pottery to Turkish delight and bedding plants. Meanwhile, the food stallholders were so good at tempting taste buds with a hog roast, Chinese noodles, tasty Black Farmer sausages, savoury Indian delicacies, or delicious tea home-made cake, that many sold out completely! The bouncy castle and human table football also went down well.

Keith Nimmo, CEO and Artistic Director of Wiltshire Music Centre enthused: "We are absolutely delighted - everyone had a marvellous day, which was spectacularly successful in drawing in new audiences for their first visit to the Centre and to attract over twice as many people as we were hoping for is a fantastic bonus. I feel sure everyone will have gone away feeling they had just enjoyed a really special and memorable day out. I'd also like to take the opportunity to thank all the staff, volunteers and everyone else involved, whose tremendous hard work made the event possible".

In a fitting world-class finale to this special day, a sold out evening concert with the Budapest Gypsy Orchestra took place in the evening.

For more information, or to join the mailing list, contact the Wiltshire Music Centre box office on 01225 860100, or online at

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