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Streets fall silent after fanfare
4:53pm Friday 22nd July 2011 in Arts
ONE of Europe’s biggest celebrations of brass music drew to a close last weekend – with organisers hailing the event a success.
An outdoor theatre spectacular took place on the streets of Durham City before the finale of Brass: Durham International Festival on Palace Green outside the cathedral.
Colour Variations, by Pan.optikum, from Germany, was inspired by colliery banners. The performance incorporated songs, images and symbols associated with County Durham.
Bands taking part included the Reg Vardy Brass Band, Aycliffe and Brancepeth Brass Band, Bearpark and Esh Brass Band and Craghead Colliery Brass Band.
Spokesman Garry Smith said: “Audiences came out in droves to support the various urban and rural events. The festival is an important event in County Durham’s cultural calendar, showcasing the best it has to offer and providing a boost to local business.
“It is a celebration of music, dance and outdoor theatre featuring a whole host of talented and inspiring performers from around the world.”
Over two weeks, Brass offered a platform for world music, street theatre, contemporary dance, digital art, opera and practical workshops. Last week, the Spanish company Xarxa Theatre gave a free show at Chester-le-Street to music from Durham Miners’ Association Band. Le Snob, from France, staged performances in which characters defied gravity, gliding between ever-changing fire-lit paths to brass music.
Brass: Durham International Festival is organised by Durham County Council and supported by Arts Council England North East. Other countries represented included Italy, Ireland, Japan, Norway, Romania and the US. The event, in its fifth year, programmed music from traditional to classical, jazz to soul.
The Soul Rebels, from New Orleans, who have played with the likes of James Brown and Robert Plant, passed tips to about 350 young players during workshops with the seven-piece band before a performance at the Gala Theatre.
Coun Neil Foster, cabinet member for regeneration and economic development at Durham County Council, said: “We are proud to have organised this year’s Brass festival, which has been a vibrant celebration of music, dance and street entertainment.
“We are delighted that so many people, young and old, have enjoyed the fantastic and varied events.”