Big Band raise the bar

Talented students making up the University’s Big Band have wowed crowds and judges alike with their performances at the National Festival of Music for Youth.

The Festival is a five day programme of live brass, classical, folk, choral and contemporary renditions from the UK’s leading young musicians. Around 8,000 musicians perform at venues across Birmingham.

The Band were given a slot during the festival after a maestro performance at their first audition earlier in the year - beating hundreds of Big Bands from around the country.

Martha O’Sullivan, University of Leicester Big Band President, said: “We had our first audition back in March in Tamworth, and received flawless feedback. The adjudicator said we were polished, professional and oozed panache, and that we gave everyone there a 'lesson in how to big band!’”

They performed for a second time at the Birmingham Town Hall at the beginning of the month.

Martha added: “People in the audience came up to me afterwards to say how amazing we were, and that the bar really was raised as soon as we walked on.

“The adjudicator couldn't understand how we play to such a high standard yet none of us study music, and the group is entirely student-led. She also took my details so that she could get in touch with us about working with us in the future. This is a real achievement for us, as she is a world renowned jazz musician and composer who could pick any group in the world to work with, but she wants us!”

The students have had a jam-packed schedule in July, as alongside their participation at the National Festival of Music for Youth, they also travelled to Belgium to demonstrate their chops at the Ghent Jazz Festival.

At the beginning of September, Big Band will find out whether they have been selected to perform at the Royal Albert Hall as a result of their participation in the festival.