AJ's Big Band celebrates 25 years with Sidmouth concert

PUBLISHED: 14:43 05 March 2009 | UPDATED: 08:39 18 June 2010

CELEBRATING its 25th anniversary in style, AJ s Big Band returns to Sidmouth to perform at the Manor Pavilion Theatre on Friday, March 13.

CELEBRATING its 25th anniversary in style, AJ's Big Band returns to Sidmouth to perform at the Manor Pavilion Theatre on Friday, March 13.

The South West's premier 17-piece band, which specialises in the unforgettable music of the swing era, has two local performers, Chris Gradwell from Beer and Jim Ferris from Exmouth.

Chris plays saxophone and clarinet and is a versatile musician with an extensive repertoire in jazz, classical and chamber as well as solo work.

Jim has been AJ's drummer for 17 years and at 15 was the youngest percussionist to play at the Royal Albert Hall in the finals of the World Brass Band championships.

Under the inimitable leadership of Ken Parr, the band plays regularly throughout Devon and the South West for both dances and concerts.

It was founded by the late Alan (AJ) Hempstead in 1983 and its concerts feature a wide range of music from the 1930s to more contemporary arrangements, with the emphasis on classic tunes immortalised by such names as Glenn Miller and Count Basie.

Its regular female vocalist is Paula Mitchell.

Tickets for next week's show, which starts at 8pm, are £11 and available from the theatre's box office (01395) 514413.

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