Sunderland Big Band Festival 2016

We made our annual pilgrimage to Sunderland for the Big Band Festival this weekend.IMG_2116Whilst we may not have won any prizes this year, we had a great day, and performed what we felt to be an exciting and entertaining set which went down well with the crowd at least!

Heres what our friends at ‘Bebop Spoken Here’ had to say on the matter!

The Tyne Valley Big Band. MD Dave Hignett, an irrepressible force of nature is a man on a mission. Seemingly every Tyne Valley resident is being signed up to participate in the biggest band on Planet Jazz! Familiar faces jostled for a place in the various sections; Alexis Cairns (alto) and Andrea de Vere (tenor) two of a ten-strong reeds’ line-up, Ben Heathcote and Alistair Lord, two of seven trumpets and a regulation rhythm section comprising Finton Keeley (piano), Kevin Moore (guitar and pork pie hat), Michael Cunningham (bass) and drummer Mark Bolderson. A six-strong trombone section, one was beginning to lose count. In the Mood (like a limpet, it’s all but impossible to shake off) began the programme. Well, all was forgiven with Dave Hignett leading from the front. The man blew some seriously good trumpet. He got out of harm’s way in the nick of time as a Tyne Valley drumming samba seven swelled the numbers. Basie’s Jumpin’ at the Woodside never fails and star vocalist Barbara Hignett belted out Gospel from the film Monsters University aided by an additional vocal quartet recruited from Hexham’s Queen Elizabeth High School. Every one of the THIRTY SEVEN (make that ‘AT LEAST THIRTY SEVEN’) members of the ensemble gave out the command: Rise Up! Win, lose or draw, what a performance!

And the judges comments.

IMG_2117IMG_2119Our secret weapon this year was to close the set with the fantastic street band piece ‘Gospel’ from Monsters University featuring our special guests ‘A Batida Da Rua’ a Brazilian Samba drum group based at Queen Elizabeth High School, Hexham.IMG_2088Practicing for the gig at our rehearsal venue the lovely Phoenix Club HexhamIMG_2084


IMG_2106Our oh so tight rhythm section.IMG_2107Our multinational Sax section, Kelly, ‘All the way from Australia’ via Consett.IMG_2110Simon (needing no encouragement) with our lovely tromboners

We are now coming up to a bit of a lull in proceedings before we get into our tour of Tyne Valley Beer festivals so back on familiar territory there.

We are also planning a trip Carlisle assuming the Old Fire Station venue has dried out after the floods earlier this year.

Our Junior and youth bands the Tyne Valley Jazz Ensemble and Tyne Valley Youth Big Band went down a storm on the Sunday in the Schools and Youth Sections with a special mention for Dom getting an award for his excellent drumming.