The Big Band swings back to Hornchurch for Christmas show

PUBLISHED: 14:42 05 December 2018

Five Star Swing multi-instrumentalists have performed on BBC TV for Children in need and Dame Vera Lynn's Charity Ball. Photo: Five Star Swing.

Five Star Swing multi-instrumentalists have performed on BBC TV for Children in need and Dame Vera Lynn's Charity Ball. Photo: Five Star Swing.


A band that has performed at the BBC’s Children in Need will be performing popular Christmas songs at the Queen’s Theatre this December.

Simone Smith surrounded by Five Star Swing band members. Photo: Chris SmithSimone Smith surrounded by Five Star Swing band members. Photo: Chris Smith

Five Star Swing as seen at London’s Leicester Square Theatre, will be performing the best Christmas hits at the Queen’s Theatre.

Paul Higgs who tours with the band said: “I’m ecxited to be bringing the big band version of all these classic Christmas songs back to my home town.”

Also featured is Simone from the Ivy Benson Orchestra and Chris Smith (Junior) composer and arranger for the BBC Radio Big Band, Herb Miller.

Bandleader and composer Chris told the Recorder: “It’s quite unique in that the way we present is very informal. It’s rather like the audience is invited back stage for a little party with the band members.

“We have a chat with the audience and involve them in the songs.”

Chris has composed for the BBC Radio Big Band and is a former composer for Herb Miller Big Band.

“Quite often we get the response that when members of our audience come out of the theatre, they feel enlivened. And it’s that sort of music we do, it gives people a lift.” said Chris.

“Of course this kind of music was a big up-lift during the 1940s and it’s still true to this very day.

“I think the seniors pick up on that, they come out feeling refreshed.”

Five Star Swing are not exaggerating when they describe themselves as multi-instrumentalists.

“I have been known to play the trumpet and the piano at the same time, it’s a party trick of mine,” Chris added.

“Simone plays the clarinet, the flute, the alto saxophone and she sings.”

Simone was taught to play the alto saxophone in the 1980s by the well-known bandleader Ivy Benson and has recorded with Paul Weller, and appeared on the Russell Harty show.

The Big Band plays at the Queen’s Theatre on Tuesday, December 11. For tickets call the theatre’s Box Office on 01708 443333.

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