The London Gay Big Band is backing the London2018 Gay Games bid, which has culture at the heart of the bid. The LGBB was founded in August 2011 as a sister group to the longer-established London Gay Symphony Orchestra and London Gay Symphonic Winds, to offer something new and fresh to London’s gay and jazz scenes. The band comprises 20 musicians: saxophones, trombones, trumpets and rhythm section, plus guest vocalists. Players of all sexualities are welcome and are represented.
Stefan Doering, co-founder and manager of London Gay Big Band, “We formed London Gay Big Band in 2011 and since then the band has gone from strength to strength. I had the idea to put the band together as I absolutely love jazz and swing music, and for me there’s nothing that can really beat that iconic big band sound – and I had a feeling that we could bring a fresh and different vibe into the London LGBT community. However, I could never have imagined the phenomenal impact we have made right across the gay scene and beyond. Our first year has been incredible, with some amazing highlight performances at the London 2012 Festival, World Pride Main Stage, Hackney Empire, the Clapham Street Party, aboard HMS Belfast and at many more venues.”
Bass trombonist Ian Haig has been a manager in the NHS for 11 years and is about to become Head of Operations, Specialist Hospitals at University College London Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust. “I was asked to join London Gay Big Band by my friend Paul, whom I’d known since University. At first I was nervous because I hadn’t played trombone for a number of years and also, I had never been part of a gay organisation. However, the musical director, Pete, offered to practice with me and I gained some confidence and I finally turned up to a rehearsal. I immediately met some really lovely and talented people who have inspired me to practice and prioritise the band. It has also helped me to discuss my sexuality at last in an open way with family, friends and work colleagues. Some of the most special moments this year have been seeing how much my family have enjoyed the gigs and performances this year. I always look forward to going to band. It has a fantastically friendly and open atmosphere with people from all careers and backgrounds determined to perform at an excellent standard and have fun along the way.”
LGBB plays pieces from a range of big band and jazz styles to suit the diverse tastes of both its players and its audience. Repertoire includes: Ain’t Misbehavin’, American Patrol, Begin the Beguine, Big Spender, Fascinating Rhythm, Minnie The Moocher, It Don’t Mean A Thing If It Ain’t Got That Swing, Mack the Knife, Music to Watch Girls Go By, Night in Tunisia, Orange Coloured Sky and Sweet Georgia Brown.
If you fancy listening to them, the band’s next show – a Christmas Gala – is at The Two Brewers, Clapham, on Sunday 16th December.