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Consett youngsters have a blast as Durham Brass Festival countdown begins; Excited pupils in Consett got in the swing of the Durham Brass Festival when a band came to school.

Byline: David Whetstone

The summer holidays were heralded at one North East primary school by a blast of brass.

Youngsters at The Grove Primary School, in Consett, were the first to benefit from Big Brass Bash, one strand of this year's Durham Brass Festival.

Warming up for the festival, which begins on Thursday, the six-piece New York Brass Band -- actually from York rather than New York -- popped in to conduct a workshop.

Kate James, festival and events manager at Durham County Council and the organiser of Brass, captured the mood when she said: "It was absolutely brilliant.

"They explained to the children how a band works and what all the instruments do and then they got some of the kids out from the audience.

"One little boy stood there for a while and then suddenly started dancing around the room and jumping off things.

"The teachers said they'd been trying to draw him out of his shell because he'd never responded to music before.

"It was funny watching the teachers. I said, 'I'm so sorry, you're not going to get any work done now.'

"But they were in tears of laughter. They said this was what every Monday morning should be like."

The morning workshop was to be followed by a free concert in Blackhill and Consett Park so the children could take their families and educate them about brass music.

New York Brass Band from York, entertain pupils at the Grove Primary School

Big Brass Bash also takes in schools in Shildon, Trimdon and Seaham, each followed by a free concert and with a final concert in Jubilee Park, Spennymoor, on Friday.

Also involved in Big Brass Bash is the Leeds-based band Hope & Social which is striving this week to write new material inspired by its work with County Durham schoolchildren and their families.

New York Brass Band and Hope & Social will also perform together on Saturday as part of the day-long Alternative Brass concert at Durham's Gala Theatre which is to be hosted by Steve Lamacq of BBC 6Music.

"We have done Big Brass Bash before but we wanted to do it slightly differently this year, going for more of an outdoors festival vibe," said Kate James.

"This year we have got 55 different schools organised in the festival so it has been interesting chaos."

Kate said when one group of young children proved reluctant to return to their classrooms yesterday, the visiting musicians led the way, conga-style.

Durham Brass Festival, involving brass bands from across the world, takes place from July 16-19 with a packed programme of free and ticketed events celebrating the county's musical heritage.

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Publication:The Chronicle (Newscastle upon Tyne, England)
Geographic Code:1U2NY
Date:Jul 15, 2015
Words:439
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