Orchestra to play on floating platform at Leeds swimming baths

Musicians at Bramley Baths.
Musicians at Bramley Baths.
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A classical orchestra is to play on a floating platform at a Leeds baths as part of its programme of “taking music to the people.”

The move has proved so popular that the planned concert has sold out and a second performance has had to be organised.

West Yorkshire Symphony Orchestyra was founded in 2003 by University of Leeds students.

Other members have since joined, including trumpet player Jude Abbott from Leeds-based band Chumbawamba.

The purpose of the orchestra is to perform classical music for a wider community.

It has previously performed in Leeds Kirkgate Market and on Scarborough beach.

Its next performance is at Leeds College of Music at 7.30 pm on July 9 with music from hit film The King’s Speech.

And on July 24 it will make its water-borne debut at Bramley Baths as part of the 2011 ‘I Love West Leeds’ festival. The baths were recently at the centre of a community campaign to keep them open when they were threatened with closure.

Swimmers will be serenaded by Handel’s Water Music, with the orchestra seated on a specially constructed ‘floating’ stage right in the middle of the pool.

The swimmers will move around in the water, and the audience will watch from the balcony. The concerts take place at 4pm and 6pm.

Jude, who joined the orchestra two years ago, said: “I hadn’t played in a classical orchestra since I was 18.”

Festival Director Jane Earnshaw said: “This well known orchestra is used to playing in unusual locations but it’s the first time they’ve ever taken the plunge like this. We will definitely be reinforcing the no splashing rule!”

Darren Leake, duty officer at Bramely Baths, added: “The pool originally opened in 1904 and has been restored to its Edwardian splendour so it still offers nostalgic surroundings alongside modern facilities. I’m sure the orchestra will feel perfectly at home.”

Tickets for the 6pm public swim on July 24 are limited and cost £5 for adults and £2.50 for children. Balcony seats are £2.50. Visit www.watermusic.eventbrite.com.

Go to www.ilovewestleeds.co.uk or call 0787 058 1566 for more details on the I Love West Leeds Festival.

Andy Thorburn of EMIS

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