Town orchestra last concert fear

SAVE our orchestra!That was the heartfelt plea from the Wolsey Orchestra in Ipswich today who are facing performing their last ever concert if they cannot drum up more support.

SAVE our orchestra!

That was the heartfelt plea from the Wolsey Orchestra in Ipswich today who are facing performing their last ever concert if they cannot drum up more support.

The orchestra is due to take to the stage at the Corn Exchange on February 8. However it could be the last performance by the group, which is now in its 31st year, if it cannot attract new fans.

In recent years audiences have fallen from about 400 to 150 meaning the orchestra's costs are not covered.

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Many members of the orchestra are devastated by the news.

"We can't believe people in Suffolk will let such an excellent orchestra just die," said cellist Fiona Bechmann whose husband Danish-born Torben also plays with the orchestra.

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"It would be a crying shame if that happened, not just for the present players but for the generations of young people who are learning an instrument in school and might one day be looking for an orchestra to play with.

"The Wolsey is part of our local cultural heritage. Once lost it will be gone forever and we can't sit back and let that happen without a fight."

The Wolsey Orchestra formed in 1972 and has grown into an organisation of 60 members.

It is a non-profit making charity whose players pay a subscription to offset the outgoing costs of performances.

"We actually pay to play our music and our commitment is total," commented Mr Bechmann, 42, who lives in Haughgate Close, Woodbridge with his wife.

"We try very hard to provide a high level of performance and we work at offering a programme which will appeal to all ages. Our players range from very talented 17-year-olds to senior members in their 60s. Several of the teachers who offer lessons in our local schools also play with us so children can recognise them and see them perform."

"We think that is very important," he added. "Young people learning an instrument need to have something to work towards and the Wolsey can offer them that.

"We thoroughly enjoy playing and would hate to see the orchestra lost through lack of support.

"We want as many people as possible to turn up for our next concert at the Corn Exchange. Without the help of local people we are finished so please come along and hear us play. You won't be disappointed."

n The Wolsey Orchestra is performing a concert at Ipswich Corn Exchange at 7.30pm on February 8. Music planned for the evening includes Beethoven's Fidelio Overture and a violin concerto by Brahms. Tickets for the concert cost £7.50 (concessions available) and are available from the Central Box Office, Princes Street, Ipswich or by calling 01473 433100.

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