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Hornchurch band celebrates 40 years of jazz at Queen's Theatre

PUBLISHED: 17:00 11 June 2018

The Jazz Project Big Band

The Jazz Project Big Band

Archant

To celebrate more than 2000 performances of jazz at a well-known Hornchurch theatre, Corrigan's Band of Hope will be holding their biggest concert yet.

Pete CorriganPete Corrigan

Featuring music from the Jazz Project Big Band, with singers Keith Ball, Jo Alexander and trumpeter Paul Rhodes, trombonist Roy Williams, the Brickyard Trio and Peter Corrigan’s own Dixieland band - Jazz through the Ages promises to be a night to remember.

February 1976 saw the first performance of Peter Corrigan’s Band of Hope at the Queen’s Theatre.

The new theatre had been open for just a few months and director, John Hole was looking to put some Dixieland jazz in the bar to bring people in on Sunday lunch times.

Peter told the Recorder: “Those first few gigs in the bar area, affectionately known as The Pit, proved so popular that audiences soon outgrew the space and the sessions were moved upstairs to the foyer, where they’ve been held ever since.”

The original line-up was five piece - Dennis Field on cornet, Bernie Holden on the clarinet, Hugh Rainey on the banjo, Donny Bishop on drums and Peter himself on double bass.

Their lively brand of jazz drew in the crowds and before long the band was being invited to gig at the National Theatre, and at the Barbican.

They also did tours to Ireland and Portugal and even played at the opening of the Aladdin’s Kingdom Theme Park in Qatar.

One of Peter’s favourite invitations came in 1987.

“Adrian Rhodes, then a student at the National Film and Television School in Middlesex, invited us to record the soundtrack to a comedy drama he was working on, called See You At Wembley, Frankie Walsh,” Peter said.

“The story revolved around Hull City FC’s unexpected progress in the FA Cup.

“Hull’s theme tune is Hold That Tiger, so we recorded that, plus several other tracks at the NFTS.

“The film later won director, Mark Herman a Student Academy Award.”

Over the years Peter has welcomed many jazz legends as guests on his evening concerts, such as Kenny Ball, Acker Bilk, George Chisholm and Sam Woodyard, drummer with the world famous Duke Ellington band.

Peter added: “Whether you are a regular at our Sunday lunchtime sessions, or coming for the first time, we’d love to see you there.”

Jazz through the Ages will be playing at the Queen’s Theatre in Billet Lane on Sunday, June 17 at 7pm.

For tickets call 01708 443333 or visit queens-theatre.co.uk.

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