Youth band join Guards for anniversary

CELIA WIGG An award-winning Norfolk youth band will be giving a joint concert in Norwich with the Dragoon Guards, as part of its 30th anniversary celebrations.

CELIA WIGG

An award-winning Norfolk youth band will be giving a joint concert in Norwich with the Dragoon Guards today as part of its 30th anniversary celebrations.

South Norfolk Youth Symphonic Band is based at Diss and has 90 members aged between seven and 23, of all abilities, who come together for the sheer enjoyment of making music.

Over the years, the group has raised thousands of pounds for charities, performing in the UK and Europe under the guidance of founder and musical director Mike Booty, an ex-Royal Marine.

Yesterday, the young musicians, who come from south Norfolk and north Suffolk, joined the Band of the Dragoon Guards at their base at Swanton Morley for workshops and rehearsals. The performance is at 7.30pm today at the King's Centre in King Street.

Mr Booty said: "We are excited about playing with the Band of the Dragoon Guards and the concert is guaranteed to be one of quality.

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"The experience that everyone gains from ventures such as this helps develop and encourage young people to continue music.

"One of our senior members has just joined the Army as a musician and several others want to follow this career path.

"This will be the third military band we have played with this year and we are proud about the association.

"Music for young wind band players is alive and well in south Norfolk and I hope it continues long after I hang my baton up."

Captain Leigh Sharpe, the Dragoons' director of music, added: "Although our thoughts are with our colleagues on other duties at present, we see this as an extremely valuable and superb opportunity.

"Young people are the future of army music and this type of ven-ture gives them first-hand exper-ience of the opportunities avail-able, and standards required."

It is only the second time the youngsters have played with the Dragoon Guards and it is hoped this will become a regular event.

The concert will feature more than 100 musicians.

Tickets priced at £5, concessions £4, are available in advance from Jane Trippett-Jones on 01379 652352, or on the door.

Numbers are restricted and advance purchase is advised.

South Norfolk Youth Symphonic Band meets at 7pm on Tuesdays at Diss Resource Centre in Shelfanger Road. For details, call Mike Booty on 01379 641580, or band secretary Gerald Ward on 01953 788142.

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