New museum exhibition lets the music play

A NEW exhibition is coming to Tameside which celebrates the diversity of musical styles and talent across the borough. 

From brass bands and dance halls to the beat boom and folk scene, music has been an integral feature of the area for many years.

That story is being chronicled by an exhibition called ‘Let the Music Play’ – which will be on display at Portland Basin Museum in Ashton-under-Lyne from March 30 to November 9.

Dance halls

A drum kit used by Pete Simensky, a member of the Hyde/Dukinfield Sixties band The Meteors, will be among the items the public will be able to view. The band famously supported The Rolling Stones in a series of Manchester-based gigs, when Pete received some drumming tips from the one and only Charlie Watts.

There’s one of Ashton-born Victor Brox’s instruments and an example of his trademark hats. His award-winning daughter Kyla, a blues singer like her dad, also features.

Stalybridge/Ashton folk group the Fivepenny Piece, who achieved national fame in the 1970s, are included.

Fivepenny piece in concert

Loans from the oldest brass band in the world, Stalybridge Old Band, help to explore Tameside’s world-renowned brass tradition – which will once again be returning to the borough’s streets for Whit Friday contests this year.

As well as looking at the past, the exhibition also features memorabilia from more recent bands such as Cabbage and Sugar Crease.

There’s a display of the technology used to play and listen to music, stretching from the gramophone and old 78 records to the Echo Dot; a 19th century Morris dancing costume and a look at Mossley organ builders George Sixsmith and Son.

Military music is explored through Manchester Regiment instruments and archive items.

Councillor Sangita Patel, Tameside Council’s assistant executive member for culture, heritage and digital inclusivity, said: “Music is something that everyone likes in one form or another, and ‘Let the Music Play’ covers so many of the styles and types that have been enjoyed in Tameside over the years.

“It really is a fascinating exhibition, and it opens in the Easter school holiday which is an ideal time for a day out at Portland Basin. It can be taken in with all the other great family attractions at our wonderful museum in its picturesque canalside location.”

The exhibition will be available during the museum’s opening hours of Tuesday to Sunday 10am to 4pm. Admission is free.

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