The University of Bath Big Band has been celebrating some huge achievements recently!
The Big Band is a group within the Choral and Orchestral Society and is a fun, non- auditioned jazz ensemble that plays a large and varied range of music. Just last month, the band saw huge successes with their very popular Jazz Nights. The first jazz Night was held back in 2019 and was born out of the bands desire to share their love of music with their own family and friends. It was held in the Claverton Rooms in Bath- the band were absolutely thrilled when, half an hour before the event began, the entire room was packed out with spectators.
The Big Band continued to have four more Jazz Nights in the Claverton Rooms and found that every year was getting bigger and bigger. Conductor Dan said, ‘we just thought to ourselves- let’s take this to the next level.’ They decided to make the move to Komedia, one of the biggest venues in Bath and found that two weeks before the event, they had surpassed their ticket sales goal and by the days leading up to the event, they had totally sold out. Dan commented, ‘to sell out a venue as big as Komedia was just phenomenal’. The night was a huge success, raising over £800 for Voices for Life Charity, which aims to inspire children to be happy and confident through music. Dan added that he ‘couldn’t be more proud of the band’ and said his favourite part of the evening was ‘how supportive the band was of each other- if someone else was playing a solo, the entire band would be so stoked.’
Just a week later, the Big Band celebrated another huge achievement as they attended Battle of the Big Bands South West for the first time. This is a prestigious music competition where four different Universities compete against each other for the title of best Big Band in the South West. After applying unsuccessfully a few years in a row, the Big Band competed for the first time this year- and won! Dan described this as, ‘absolutely huge for us. We are beyond happy with the result- this is a major milestone that we’ve been working towards for years, although we didn’t expect to win it at our first attempt and especially being up against so many other amazing Universities, many of which have designated music departments!’ To summarise the elation the entire band felt, Dan said that he had received his PHD the day before - and the feeling of that didn’t come close to the feeling of winning this trophy. Following their exceptional win, the Big Band will be hosting the Battle of the Big Bands in two years time and feel this will a wonderful opportunity to raise awareness of the band with other Bath students.
This really reflects the culture of the Big Band and ChaOS as a whole. The group is extremely inclusive- the band is un-auditioned, meaning everyone is welcome and has also provided students with amazing opportunities. Dan, for example, commented that he has been able to conduct a big band and perform to a sell-out audience at one of the biggest venues in Bath- he would never have had this opportunity otherwise. Other students have developed such a love of music from their time with the band that they have actually then gone on to pursue musical careers.
The entire Big Band is unbelievably proud of everything they have achieved. Dan explained that they have gone from having no band at all during COVID to winning the best band in the South West, and he feels it is only going to get bigger and better from here. Just last week, they had a gig where all the bands within ChaOS performed and the Vice Chancellor was also in attendance. ChaOS also recently won an award at the SU Awards for ‘Event of the Year’ for their Jazz Night and performed as the evening entertainment at the Education Awards.
While championing the successes of the band as a whole, Dan was also keen to spotlight individual musicians. He felt passionately that, ‘the people are what makes the band. It’s not the gigs- it’s the socials afterwards, it’s the heading to the SU for a night out. We want to celebrate the people’.
Another huge congratulations to the Big Band for all their amazing recent achievements. We are very excited to see what they get up to next!