They’re the best... and it’s obvious why!

The Syd Lawrence Orchestra
The Syd Lawrence Orchestra

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The Syd Lawrence Orchestra has recently been voted Best Big Band in the Land for the 11th consecutive year. It soon became obvious why.

Founded by trumpeter Syd Lawrence in 1967, the orchestra has been enthralling audiences for over 40 years.

Since the retirement of Syd Lawrence in 1996, Chris Dean has been director of the orchestra.

Under the direction of Chris, the orchestra recreated the Big Band Era at Fareham’s Fernham Hall on Thursday.

The evening commenced with the Glenn Miller classic In the Mood to the delight of the audience whose collective feet were tapping along.

The evening was accentuated with other Miller standards such as String of Pearls, Little Brown Jug and the rousing Tuxedo Junction.

The band entertained us with several movie themes including The Pink Panther Theme and the haunting Tara’s Theme from Gone with the Wind. The audience were enthralled by the James Bond Medley, which is available on the orchestra’s latest CD, A Night at The Movies.

Guest vocalist Angie Mills brought the house down when, draped in a feather boa, she sang the Shirley Bassey song Goldfinger.

As well as leading the orchestra, Chris Dean played trombone solos and sang solo numbers. He was also a member of the close harmony vocal group, The Serenaders, who gave us a beautiful version of Don’t Sit Under the Apple Tree with Anyone Else but Me.

Drummer ‘Handy’ Tandy gave an exhilarating drum solo which mesmerised the audience. The trumpet section and the trombone section came out into the audience during numbers, and instruments blasted out as they marched down the aisles.

The climax was a sensational version of the Stan Kenton classic The Peanut Vender. A thoroughly enjoyable evening that left me wanting to hear more from the Big band era.