ALMOST 1,000 children were given the chance to experience a live orchestra in Bradford's main music venue as part of an event designed to inspire them to pick up an instrument.

Primary Music Live was held in Bradford city centre today, and saw 22 schools from across the district descend on St George's Hall for a day of live music and singalongs.

Organised by Bradford Council in the hope that it will become an annual event, the aim was to teach children about music, as well as giving them an opportunity to enjoy it in a way many of them wouldn't have done before.

The Bradford Youth Orchestra performed throughout the day, with its 45 members taking time between pieces to tell the young audience about the different instruments that make up the orchestra.

Sessions were held in both the morning and afternoon, with each session involving 450 children from schools from as far as Cullingworth and Keighley. The children were invited to clap along to songs as varied as Toreador from Carmen, the Can Can, and We Will Rock You.

And there were even performances of well known songs from films such as the James Bond and Superman franchises.

The pupils then took part in a mass sing along they had been practicing in school.

St George's Hall is the oldest concert hall still in use in the UK, and over the years the grand, Grade II listed building has hosted acts including Iron Maiden, David Bowie, Charles Dickins and Judas Priest.

The event was led by Sam Dunkley and Bradford Council's Music and Arts Service staff. It is hoped the day will persuade more children to pick up an instrument and get involved in music, possibly becoming members of the youth orchestra in the future.

Felicity French, assistant head of the music and arts team, said: "It is the first time we have done anything like this event, and the kids have really enjoyed it.

"We have just under 1,000 children here today watching, and they have all been learning songs in school so they can take part.

"We did a show of hands at the start of the day, and most children had never seen an orchestra playing live before, so it is a new experience for them.

"It gives the children the opportunity to see all these different instruments that they may want to go out and have a go of, rather than just having one put in their hands and told to play it in a music lesson."

Carl White, also an assistant head of the service, said: "It is exposing them to instruments they otherwise might not have seen before. We're hoping to turn this into an annual event."