The wonderful Soundstage Studios in Acton was the venue on Sunday 22nd October for our first auditions for Bader’s Big Band. And what a thoroughly enjoyable and successful day we all had.
Sadly a few auditionees weren’t able to attend but we were extremely grateful to those who did: Jerri Hart (vocals and trumpet); Hamish Downard (trombone); Rebecca Slater (trumpet); Bob Wilcox (drums); Geoff Stear (bass guitar); Emma Sanders (vocals and trumpet) and Shona Brownlee (French horn and keyboard). To fill in a couple of gaps, Paul Clark, musical director, had drafted in a saxophonist, Ollie Smith, and a keyboard accompanist, Stephen Skews. We were very glad of their expertise, help and support throughout the day.
Sunday started with much needed cups of coffee and cakes and the chance for the musicians, families and DBF representatives to meet and chat. Musicians were then put through the ordeal of individual interviews before reconvening in the studio for the first session. Several of the musicians were also filmed individually during the day, which gave us an insight into some of the challenges they faced and how they’d come to hear about and audition for Bader’s Big Band. Following the interviews, Paul made the decision to go straight into group playing rather than individual auditions, which turned out to be a wise move; it quickly became apparent that even with fewer musicians than expected, the potential was exciting. After lunch, the music resumed. Paul Clark had pulled out all the stops, painstakingly arranging the music for the rather small line up of musicians. An inspired and experienced Band leader, he was soon pulling the musicians together and with their confidence increasing helped by plenty of mutual support, the quality and coherence of the playing increased exponentially and those of us watching could only listen with astonishment and delight.
By the end of the day there had been successful renditions of “Summertime“, ‘’Fly Me To The Moon’’, ‘’I’m Feeling Good’’ ‘’Don’t Know Why’’ and ’’How Sweet It Is’’. The progress made during just one afternoon had been extraordinary.
Next on the agenda is a Residential Weekend in December. It’s going to be fascinating to see just what can be achieved with longer to rehearse and additional musicians.
There’s still time to join Bader’s Big Band:
We are still looking to recruit more musicians, particularly Alto, Tenor and Bari Sax players and trombonists. If you play one of these or other instruments and have a physical disability or a diagnosed mental health condition we’d love to hear from you. Do please complete the form at the bottom of this post or contact Paul Clark by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org if you’ve got any questions or would like more information first.
Bader’s Big Band will be the first ever Big Band consisting almost entirely of musicians from the UK with a physical disability or diagnosed mental health condition. There’s no reason why Bader’s Big Band can’t just be a good band but a VERY good band; a band that will make people take notice and realise that where there’s a will, anything is possible. That’s our aim and with your involvement, we’ll all achieve it together!
If, having watched the videos, you still need more convincing that having a disability doesn’t mean that you can’t be a good musician, take a look at this extraordinary and inspiring video of horn player, Felix Klieser….https://youtu.be/EFFqZB7c7fE
Our sincere thanks to all the lovely musicians and their families and friends who came along to play, support and help on Sunday and also to Tom Greader for the wonderful film. It was fascinating to watch him getting in (very) close to get his shots without people even seeming to notice he was there. The useful skill of selective invisibility for cameramen in evidence! You all made it a very special day.
Links: (these will open in new tabs) (The Thomas Greador link is now showing the correct video, apologies to those who previously found themselves watching the draft with a collection of people mysteriously called “Surname”!)