A new venture for young musicians who want to take their music to greater heights by playing in a proper ensemble is being launched in Ely at the end of September.

The Ely Area Music Centre starts on September 29 and will run on Saturday mornings during term time. It is open to school-age students who have reached at least Grade 2 on an orchestral instrument and the first session will be completely free to attend.

Each week, students will have the chance to develop their technical skills with professional musicians, rehearse and perform as part of a full orchestra, and work with young people from other schools who love making music just as much as they do.

The Centre is being run by Cambridgeshire Music in partnership with King’s Ely, who will be providing the Morbey Hall for rehearsals.

Although there is already a popular Area Music Centre in Cambridge, organisers say that there has been growing demand for a similar initiative for young players in Ely and the surrounding communities.

Cambridgeshire Music Development Manager Helen Allen, who teaches music in Ely and will be leading the Centre, said: “Many children in the area have very limited opportunities to play music with others and accessing the ensembles that are run in Cambridge is often not practical.

“The Area Music Centre is all about getting them together and developing their ensemble skills with the support of experienced, professional musicians. By the end of the year, they will have grown as musicians, made new friends, and learned how to play some really exciting, challenging music together.”

A full programme of rehearsals and repertoire has been lined up for all three terms of the 2018/19 academic year, and organisers are expecting around 30 to 40 children to join the new Centre, although there is no limit on numbers.

To get involved, students need to be able to play an orchestral instrument at Grade 2 to 6 and be able to read music. They also need to be able to get to King’s Ely in time for a 10am start on Saturdays.

Each of the weekly sessions will see students working in specialist groups focusing on woodwind, string, brass or percussion during the first half of the morning, before coming together to play as a full orchestra during the second half.

This term’s repertoire is built around a theme of “Magic and Mystery”. Students will learn well-known pieces from Harry Potter, Mary Poppins, P. T. Barnum biopic The Greatest Showman, and The Nutcracker, building up to an end-of-term performance for parents and friends.

Councillor Lis Every, local member for Ely North, said, “I’m really pleased to see the Ely Area Music Centre opening this September. There are so many talented young musicians in Ely and the surrounding area but many of them do not currently have the opportunity to play in orchestras and bands – this new centre provides a great opportunity for them to take their musical learning and playing to a new level.”

The Ely Area Music Centre will be running at King’s Ely Junior School, Barton Road, Ely, CB7 4DB, from 10am to 12.30pm every Saturday from September 29. Anyone is welcome to attend and the opening session is free. For further information about the Centre, click here