Saxophonists needed to launch Norwich festival

Budding saxophonists are being urged to come forward and sign up for the chance to be one of 200 musicians launching this year's Norfolk and Norwich Festival.

The rallying cry comes as jazz saxophonist Andy Sheppard visited the city yesterday to host the first of a series of workshops ahead of the festival's launch event, Saxophone Massive.

The saxophone fanfare will see 200 professional and amateur saxophonists join the award-winning musician and other internationally-acclaimed players on May 6.

It will be one of many free events hosted as part of this year's festival, which will be directed by William Galinsky for the first time following Jonathan Holloway's departure.

Matt Burman, executive producer, said: 'Andy Sheppard's been a regular visitor to the festival, through the Voice Project and now with Saxophone Massive.

'It's fantastic for us to be working with one of the UK's finest musicians and providing an opportunity for saxophonists young and old to work with Andy, in what promises to be a spectacular opening to the festival.

'We are well on our way to reaching our target of 200 saxophonists, but we are still very keen to hear from anyone across the county, young or old, experienced or novice, with the enthusiasm to take part.'

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This year's festival will take place from May 6 to 21 and the full line-up of events will be announced in March.

Mr Sheppard, who is one of Britain's foremost tenor and soprano saxophonists, said: 'I have a long-standing relationship with the Norfolk and Norwich Festival so it's doubly exciting to be able to bring such an ambitious project to Norwich and get the chance to meet and work with so many local sax players.'

Over the years, the festival has grown and grown with last year's dubbed as the 'most successful'.

Are you doing something to promote Norwich? Call reporter Kate Scotter on 01603 772326 or email