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Bold as brass – musical ‘dress’ rehearsal puts Wigan on the map
Wednesday 22nd March, 2006

Bold as brass – musical ‘dress’ rehearsal puts Wigan on the map
Wigan's Gabrieli ensemble dressed in their finery at the audition in Rochdale

A talented bunch of young brass instrumentalists are hoping to put Wigan on the musical map.... with the help of several pairs of tights and a colourful wardrobe of 16th century Italian costumes!

The ‘Gabrieli Brass’ ensemble consists of musicians from the brass section of the Wigan Youth Symphony Orchestra who play trumpets, trombones, French horns and even a tuba.

Their music was written in the 16th century by the composer Giovanni Gabrieli, who composed his works to be performed from the famous galleries of St Mark’s Cathedral in Venice.

The ensemble hopes to follow in the footsteps of Wigan Youth Brass Band who performed in the 2005 Schools Prom at the Royal Albert Hall, and have just auditioned at the regional festival of Music For Youth last Sunday (19th March) at Rochdale Town Hall.

The ensemble decided to perform in period costume after considering the nature of this early music and the splendour of the town hall’s gothic architecture,.

Their costumes were put together from items belonging to Wigan Council education department’s arts advisory and support service, and with 'bits and bobs' from the bottom of friends and familes' drawers!

Musical director David Little said: "It’s been great fun preparing this performance. The players have discovered a whole new world of music through this project and getting dressed up in the costumes really helped us to get into the spirit.

"It’s very unusual for youth groups to perform music from the 16th century, hence the costumes. Some of the boys took some persuading to wear tights but I think they saw the artistic merits of their bravery in the end!

"We wait to hear whether we have been selected to represent Wigan at the National Festival in Birmingham in July, where the ensemble could be showcasing its talents alongside some of the finest young musicians in Britain."

The Gabrieli ensemble is one of many run throughout the borough with council support by Wigan Instrumental Teaching Provision.

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