The Jazz Band - an Institution

The Alton College Jazz Band is a lively ensemble that performs a wide range of music from the jazz standards of Armstrong and Ellington, to the more modern works of Wayne Shorter, Miles Davis and Andy Sheppard, all mixed together with a big dollop of world music.

The Jazz Band was formed in 1992, when it consisted of 10 students, 2 members of music staff - Alex Forsyth and Laurence Hall - and played one gig in the Studio. The following year the band went from strength to strength, playing at a number of gigs at venues that included The Shepherd and Flock in Farnham, The Gentleman Jim in Alton, and giving a gig on The Butts as Le Tour, visiting Alton, zoomed past.

Since 1993, the band has been a mainstay of the musical life at Alton College - a number of students even citing wishing to join the band as a reason to come to the College. Each band has its very own identity - just listen to the sound files - whilst retaining the essential high energy, high excitement factor present in all bands.

As well as regularly playing many local pubs (The Queens in Selborne, The Hawkley in Hawkley and The White Hart in Holybourne) the band has performed in many other venues, including The Anvil, Basingradd on a number of occasions, Princes' Hall in Aldershot, various village halls and Farnham Maltings on many occasions. The Jazz Band recently performed at the ICC in Birmingham and at the Swanage Jazz Festival.

Through it's history, the Jazz Band has also been fortunate to have worked with, and performed with, many well known jazz musicians - Scott Stoman on many occasions, Jeff Clyne, Trevor Tomkins, Tim Whitehead, Andy Sheppard and Gwyneth Herbert - an ex member of the band (97-98 and 98-99). As well as Gwyn Herbert - now a jazz singer (who sang and played french horn with the band), many other former students and ex Jazz Band members have gone on to have musical careers, including Tom Mason - jazz bass player (bass guitar 96-97 and 97-98), Ben Noakes - orchestral manager (piano 96-97 and 97-98), Rachael Dadd - singer/songwriter (clarinet - also 96-97 and 97-98) and Richard Barnard - composer (alto sax 93-94 and 94-95).

Comments and Reminiscences

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