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Jazz Finds Celestial Home In Coventry

Coventry's Holy Trinity Church is to make its debut as a jazz venue next month, while young musicians are being invited to wow the crowds at the Hotel Leofric.

The 14th century building, crowned by one of the city's famous three spires, will be the setting for an afternoon concert featuring top British jazz musicians Steve Lodder and Mark Ramsden on 26 August, as part of the Marconi Coventry Jazz Festival.

Classically trained organist Lodder and saxophone star Ramsden will be playing music from their acclaimed Above the Clouds album, which blends the themes of contemporary jazz and early music.

Holy Trinity's church organ, parts of which are more than 100 years old, will be used for the event, which is free to the public and begins at 5.15pm.

Canon David Urquhart, vicar of Holy Trinity, said:

"This is the first time that Holy Trinity has participated in the jazz festival and we were delighted to be approached.

"It is a building with a long musical history - we have records for the organ in Holy Trinity going back more than 400 years and our stained glass windows feature many musical instruments. 

“We're very pleased that this event is happening in the daytime and we hope that it will attract a great many people."

Meanwhile young jazz musicians in the area are being invited to take part in a series of workshops culminating in a special gig at the Hotel Leofric.

The hotel in Broadgate has a long history of jazz music, and anyone under 30 with an interest in jazz, their own instrument and some ability is being invited to get involved.

Three free workshops will be held on consecutive days from 22 to 24 August between 10am and 3pm at a venue in Coventry to be announced.

This will lead to a live performance at Leofric on 24 August, just before an evening concert featuring young British sax star Denys Baptiste and vocalist Juliet Roberts.

Participants must be under the age of 30, be able to play a bit and possess their own instrument.  They must also be interested in playing with other musicians and together writing a piece of original music.

The workshops supported by West Midlands Arts, follow a similar initiative at last year's festival, which led to 18 musicians, some as young as 16, performing at an afternoon gig in Castle Yard.

This year's sessions will be run by four musician tutors from Coventry's Centre for the Performing Arts - Owen Dutton, Dick Stafford, Steve Thomas and Carl Taylor.

Course leader Owen Dutton, who's also a member of the festival organising committee, said:

"Many of the top young musicians playing today, like Denys Baptiste, came up through this kind of project.

“The workshops extend the opportunities young people have for composing and playing together at school.

“We're looking for young people who can play but want the challenge of an exciting live performance. The aim is to have fun."

Participants must register for workshop beforehand by contacting Owen Dutton on 01788 810147 or write to festival co-ordinator Mick Emerson at Coventry and Warwickshire Promotions, 1 Castle Yard, off Hay Lane, Coventry, CV1 5RF.

For tickets and information about the festival, contact Coventry Tourist Information Centre at Bayley Lane on 024 7683 2303/2304.
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CWN / Tourism / Coventry & Warwickshire Promotions / 18 Jul 00

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