A CONCERT to mark the 20th anniversary of the Wiltshire Music Centre on Saturday marks the start of a year of celebration and a campaign to raise £100,000 to make improvements.

The concert, which starts at 6.30pm, marks the launch of Wiltshire Music Centre’s 20th Anniversary celebrations.

Led by Gwilym Simcock, the Centre’s 2017 Nimmo Jazz Artist in Residence, the concert will feature professional musicians, 40-strong community choir and members of the Wiltshire Youth Jazz Orchestra.

Mr Simcock and leading saxophonist Rob Buckland join forces with a classical string quartet to perform original compositions and arrangements inspired by French music and musicians.

Drawing on their wide-ranging experience as collaborative jazz artists, they will explore links between jazz, improvisation and the music of Debussy, Dutilleux and Ravel.

The musicians will then be joined by a jazz octet with members of the Wiltshire Youth Jazz Orchestra and the WMC Chorus to perform festive arrangements to launch its 20th Anniversary in style.

Across 2018, the Centre will be celebrating two decades of live music, and launching a 20th Anniversary Appeal to raise £100,000 to support its ever growing Creative Learning Programme for 5,000 children across the region.

The centre is also seeking funding to install new LED lighting in its auditorium for a greener and more sustainable future, having just scooped £12,000 from the M&S Energy Community Energy Fund.

WMC spokeswoman Camilla Johns said: “Two decades ago in December 1997, Wiltshire Music Centre opened its doors for the first time.

“Twenty years and many thousands of performances later, the Centre is delighted to be celebrating its 20th Anniversary across 2018.

“We hope you can join in the celebrations with us! Throughout 2018 we will be inviting our audiences and artists to share memories and stories.

“We will also be looking ahead to the next 20 years and launching a special Fundraising Appeal to support WMC into the next decade.

“And what better way to launch the celebrations than with our first Nimmo Artist in Residence, Gwilym Simcock.”