Music in famous Leeds baths!

The West Yorkshire Symphony Orchestra plays on a platform in the middle of Bramley Baths, Leeds.
The West Yorkshire Symphony Orchestra plays on a platform in the middle of Bramley Baths, Leeds.
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BRAMLEY Baths in Leeds went from swimming pool to concert hall for one of the year’s more unusual cultural events.

Orchestra members played on a specially-constructed ‘floating’ stage in the middle of the pool while public swimming went on around them.

The performance was watched by an audience of about 80 people on the balcony at the Edwardian baths.

And, fittingly, the piece played by the orchestra during its 45-minute stint on stage was Handel’s Water Music.

Armley-based writer Rommi Smith was among yesterday’s swimmers. She said: “It was an inspiring and inspirational experience. I’m sure Handel himself would have approved.

“This should be done more often, it’s a great way of getting people swimming.”

Arts festival director Jane Earnshaw said: “It’s been magical and soothing at the same time.

“There were a lot of unknowns to worry about coming into this but it has worked out wonderfully.”

Visitors to the pool were also treated to an exhibition of swimming-themed pictures by photographer Lizzie Coombes.

There was an additional display of vintage swimwear provided by Leeds City Council’s ArtForms Artemis educational collections service.

Founded in 2003, the West Yorkshire Symphony Orchestra aims to bring classical music to a wide community audience.

It has previously performed at venues such as Leeds Kirkgate Market and the beach at Scarborough.

The I Love West Leeds Arts Festival, meanwhile, is funded by groups including the city council’s west Leeds area committees and Arts Council England.

l As previously reported by the Yorkshire Evening Post, a campaign is under way to secure the long-term future of Bramley Baths.

The Grade II listed facility is due to run on heavily-reduced hours from September.

A fundraising appeal has, however, been launched with a view to potentially transferring the management of the baths from the city council to the community.

Karly Strawson and four-year-old Myles Smith, from Pontefract, strike a pose. Picture: James Hardisty

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