Salford Music and Performing Arts Service marks 50th anniversary with appeal for former students to get in touch

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It has been making sweet music for 50 years.

Now Salford’s Music and Performing Arts Service aims to celebrate its half century in style.

Archive pictures from the 1960s, 70s, 80s, show the changing hairstyles of young players – but the ethos of the organisation has remained the same – to instil a love of music in young people.

It provides performing arts opportunities in schools across Salford, including music, dance, and drama tuition, and works closely with the community.

Richard Milton, Head of MAPAS, said: “It’s amazing that an organisation founded in the sixties has such resonance today.

“The power of music to change and improve lives and bring huge happiness, not just to players but to all those who listen to them, is as strong as ever.”

To mark the anniversary the MAPAS alumni are invited to perform together again at a reunion weekend and series of concerts.

One of the archive pictures from Salford Music and Performing Arts Service
Salford Community Lesiure, a not for profit organisation, which manages MAPAS is asking alumni to share their stories, memories, and photographs via a Facebook app.

Mr Milton said: “We know that many people who went on to have great success as performance artists got their first encouragement from MAPAS.

“But it’s not just about people who have become famous. We want to celebrate anyone who got their first taste for the performing arts with MAPAS”.

In 2015, over 2,500 instruments were loaned free of charge to young people who wanted to learn how to play, and free lessons were also organised to promote music to children.

Renowned trumpet soloist and MAPAS supporter Alison Balsom said: “I think that children should universally be introduced to music early, at the age when they soak up everything so well, through such schemes as that being run by Salford Community Leisure.

“It’s not just about creating a new generation of musicians, but about enabling self-expression, building self-confidence, self-discipline, learning to socialise properly, and having sensitivity and respect towards other people – things which I believe help us to be better human beings.”

Alison Balsom says introducing children to music at an early age helps them to be ‘better human beings’
MAPAS is a strategic partner within the Greater Manchester Music Hub, and has strong partnership links with other services and organisations, including the BBC Philharmonic.

Mr Milton said: “We think 50 years of endeavour and success is something well worth celebrating, as we plan the next half century!”