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Cellist's call to musicians

PUBLISHED: 10:26 01 December 2008 | UPDATED: 21:55 05 July 2010

A CELLIST is calling for lapsed musicians to dig out and dust off their old violins and double basses to help create a new string orchestra.

Netta Swallow wants Waveney Strings to encourage people of a wide range of abilities to pick up their old instruments and start playing again, with the emphasis on enjoyment.

A CELLIST is calling for lapsed musicians to dig out and dust off their old violins and double basses to help create a new string orchestra.

Netta Swallow wants Waveney Strings to encourage people of a wide range of abilities to pick up their old instruments and start playing again, with the emphasis on enjoyment.

Ms Swallow was inspired by being a former member of the East London Late Starters Orchestra when she was living in the capital, which was open to adults who were complete beginners.

“You actually had a chance to be in an orchestra from day one, even if you couldn't play,” she said. “It was great. People say it changed their lives, and it really does.”

After 10 years with the orchestra she moved to Beccles, but found that the only music groups were too far away or required a high standard of playing.

She said: “I didn't even take the cello out of its case because I thought there wouldn't be anything like that around here.”

But after friends from her old orchestra encouraged her to import the group's ethos to Suffolk, Ms Swallow decided with co-founder Jaki Alden to hold four pilot sessions.

“This is about people relearning their instrument and improving,” she said. “It's also a really good social opportunity - outside the sessions we invite people round to our homes, have a glass of wine, play informally and have a bit of a laugh.”

Now the group has enlisted the help of the Blythe String Quartet, whose members have offered to give tuition sessions to help members hone their skills.

And a £500 grant from Waveney District Council will help publicise the group.

Ms Swallow said the group was open to players of all stringed instruments who were at the level of grade 2 and upwards, adding that once the group was established she hoped to be able to provide tuition so complete beginners could also join.

The orchestra will meet again in the Friends' Meeting House on Smallgate in Beccles on December 14 and 21.

Anyone interested in joining can contact Ms Swallow on 01502 470135 or swallownetta@yahoo.co.uk

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