Newcastle has had music put into its heart during weekdays once more, with a series of free lunchtime concerts staged in City Hall.
"We've been seeing if there's an appetite there, and so far, so good," said Civic Theatre manager Leonie Wallace.
About 80 people attended the Wednesday concert given by nine local school-age pianists. They performed pieces ranging from Beethoven's Moonlight Sonata to Over the Rainbow.
"It's lovely to experience musical culture," said Newcastle Conservatorium of Music lecturer and one of the concert organisers, Luba Totoeva, who noted it was a change from the "sports culture" that predominated in the city. "The ability for young people to play here is fantastic."
Among the performers were 12-year-old Markus Lim and his younger sister Chloe, aged nine. They particularly enjoyed playing the new Steinway grand piano, which had cost $287,000.
"It was very good the council bought this piano," Markus said. "It was well worth it."
Being school holidays, the audience included a number of families, as well as older fans of classical music. Carolyn Griffin had caught the bus from Dudley to attend the concert.
"It's a lovely way to relax during the lunch break, it changes your ideas and it takes you away from problems," she said. "I hope there will be many more."
Leonie Wallace said there would be two more concerts in this series. More performances were also planned for next year.
Lord Mayor Nuatali Nelmes said the series had revived the past, as there were free lunchtime concerts in the city from the 1920s for many years.
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