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Tickets go on sale for two Christmas concerts 18 November 2008

TICKETS go on sale next Monday (November 24) for two highlights of the Department of Education Music Service’s calendar.

The Manx Youth Orchestra’s Christmas Festival Concert takes place on Saturday 13 December at 7.30pm in the Royal Hall at the Villa Marina.

It features the Junior, Intermediate and Senior Orchestras, the Manx Youth String Orchestra, the Manx Youth Wind Orchestra, the Manx Youth Guitar Ensemble and the Swing Band. This year’s leader is Tom Callister-Wafer, a student at Queen Elizabeth II High School.

In total, 250 performers aged seven to 19 will be performing under seven conductors. The programme will include a wide range of styles of music, traditional and modern, including Ravel's Bolero, the world premiere of Concertino for Guitar and Orchestra by Andy Usher, a local music student, and a selection of songs from the musical Les Miserables, in honour of the forthcoming production on the Island.

Andy Usher is a Year 13 student at Castle Rushen High School. He plays the clarinet and the saxophone in the orchestra and is hoping to pursue a career in music as a guitarist.

Over the years the Manx Youth Orchestra has raised thousands of pounds for charity through its concerts. Generous sponsorship for this event from the Bank of Ireland and the Friends of the Manx Youth Orchestra means proceeds can be divided between the orchestra itself and the Friends of the Manx Diabetes Centre.

Head of Music Service Maggie Richardson said: ‘This concert is a glittering occasion in the presence of His Excellency Sir Paul and Lady Haddacks. It is always a highlight of the Island's festive celebrations and all are most cordially welcome.’

It is the orchestra’s first concert under its new patron, the composer James MacMillan CBE.

Tickets, from £6-£8, are available from the Villa Marina box office (694555), the Manx Welcome Centre and online at www.villagaiety.com Availability in the dress circle is limited.

The Manx Youth Choir holds its Christmas concert on Tuesday 16 December at 7.30pm at All Saints’ Church, Alexander Drive, Douglas.

The singers, aged 13 to 21, will be conducted by Maggie Richardson and accompanied on the organ/piano by Graham Kirkland. Maggie said: ‘This excellent choir will sing a programme of Advent and Christmas music, including the rousing anthem O Thou the Central Orb by Charles Wood and the modern contemplative The Word Made Flesh by Philip Wilby, along with traditional and gospel settings of well-known festive music. There will be plenty of opportunity for the audience to join in with carols, accompanied by the Ramsey Grammar School Brass Band.’

The Brass Band has grown from a small brass group to a fully fledged band with 22 members. Conducted by the Music Service’s Head of Brass and Percussion, Jennifer Cook, it will play a programme of music to include Benedictus from The Armed Man by Karl Jenkins, the Whitney Houston hit One Moment in Time and a song no Christmas concert would be complete without – Bing Crosby’s White Christmas.

Also making a guest appearance at the concert will be the Manx Children's Choir, conducted by Adele Parsons. The choir meets once a week in Douglas and its members are aged as young as seven. They are encouraged to join the Manx Youth Choir when they reach 13.

Tickets for the Manx Youth Choir concert, priced £5 (£3 for under 19s), are available from the Music Centre in Lord Street, Douglas, 686555.

Proceeds from the concert will go to the three groups and will help to raise funds for the Manx Youth Choir's tour to Canada in 2010.

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