The Hallé Orchestra is the latest big name to sign up for the international musician exchange programme, which sees bands, quartets, ensembles and orchestras swapping members in the spirit of musical fellowship. The scheme was designed to boost best practice, spread ideas and promote universal harmony, and has already produced some interesting results.
For instance, nobody was quite prepared for the sight of an elderly glockenspiel player on stage with a Swedish thrash metal group. And onlookers at a recent display of traditional English Morris dancing were delighted that the event was enlivened by the addition of a Theremin wrangler.
Of course, some people have done better out of the scheme than others, as evidenced by the Lancashire brass band who paired up with the BBC Concert Orchestra and managed to trade their third cornet for a tuba , two trombones and a kettle drum. Audiences have reportedly remarked that they go nicely with the string section that they got from the National Philharmonic last year.