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Orchestra strikes up survival note

PUBLISHED: 05:11 29 January 2003 | UPDATED: 16:13 24 February 2010

A SUFFOLK orchestra is pleading for help in a bid to save them from being silenced forever.

Members of the Wolsey orchestra in Ipswich have been told they will play their last concert on February 8 unless they can rally more support.

A SUFFOLK orchestra is pleading for help in a bid to save them from being silenced forever.

Members of the Wolsey orchestra in Ipswich have been told they will play their last concert on February 8 unless they can rally more support.

Audiences have dwindled from a high of 400 to just around 150 in recent times and that is not enough to cover costs.

Cellist Fiona Bechmann and her husband, trombonist Torben, of Haughgate Close, Woodbridge, are now campaigning to keep the orchestra performing.

"We can't believe people in Suffolk will let such an excellent orchestra just die," Mrs Bechmann said.

"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 who might one day be looking for an orchestra to play with."

The Wolsey is a non-profit making charity whose players pay a subscription to offset the cost of hall hire, conductors, and other essentials. It has been running since 1972 and now has about 60 members, ranging from 17-year-olds to pensioners.

Mrs Bechmann said: "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."

Danish-born Mr Bechmann believes that the orchestra offers something for everyone.

He added: "We try very hard to provide a high level of performance and we work at offering a programme which will appeal to all ages.

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

In order to keep afloat, the Wolsey needs as many people as possible to attend their next concert, being held at the Corn Exchange, Ipswich, on Saturday February 8 at 7.30pm.

Music planned for the evening includes Beethoven's Fidelio Overture and a violin concerto by Brahms. Tickets cost £7.50, with reductions for children.

"Without the help of local people we are finished, so please came along and hear us play. You won't be disappointed!" Mr Bechmann said.

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