A BRAVE new world beckons for the classical ensemble formerly known as the Weymouth Arts Centre Orchestra.

Now known as the Dorset Sinfonia and with a new conductor at the helm, the orchestra is looking to break new ground and attract new members and potential sponsorship.

The original arts centre orchestra was put together in the 1950s and was seen by many as the pride of the town. Now it is hoped that its name change will encourage musicians to sign up.

Dorset Sinfonia spokeswoman Jenny Hawker said: “When they first started out they were really feeling their way as there hadn’t been an orchestra in Weymouth before.

“It was a bit of a leap of faith for the people who started it.”

In recent years the ensemble was led by well-known local musician Angela Nankivell, but since ill health has forced her to step down her shoes have been filled by young conductor David Ansell, who grew up in Dorset.

The sinfonia has a core membership of 20 musicians and brings in extras for major concerts. It is looking to recruit more members, especially those who play strings, and newcomers should be at Grade 6 level or above.

Jenny Balson, who has been a member for several years, said: “We are a very friendly orchestra and rehearsals can be quite social events.”

Conductor and horn player David Ansell said: “I don’t want to see the sinfonia disappear because it has a lot of potential.”

The Dorset Sinfonia meets at the Methodist Church in Melcombe Avenue, Weymouth at 7.30pm on term time Wednesdays.

For further details call Jenny Hawker on 01305 812820 or Jenny Balston on 01305 775642.