Big Band Night

Down For The Count swing orchestra, from left to right: Simon Joyner, Kate Ballard, Max Fagandini, Megan McConnell, Hugo Fagandini, Claire Waterhouse, Callum Gillies, Mike Paul-Smith, Amelia Forster, Richard Hawking, Katie Birtill and John Rixon.

Down For The Count swing orchestra, from left to right: Simon Joyner, Kate Ballard, Max Fagandini, Megan McConnell, Hugo Fagandini, Claire Waterhouse, Callum Gillies, Mike Paul-Smith, Amelia Forster, Richard Hawking, Katie Birtill and John Rixon.

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Lovers of big band swing music are in for a treat with the return of Big Band Night at the Waterside on Saturday.

Down For The Count is one of the country’s most versatile swing orchestras, promising sparkle with every performance. The musicians will take to the stage with a mix of quickstep, jive, ballroom and foxtrot music, along with many other big band numbers as the Waterside auditorium is turned into a spectacular ballroom for one night only.

So whether you fancy a boogie with your friends on the dancefloor or just want to sit back and listen to amazing show stomping music, book your ticket quickly.

The musicians providing the tunes have extra reason to enjoy the evening because most of them are from here and are former students of Aylesbury Musci Centre.

Down For The Count was formed in 2005 by Mike Paul-Smith during his final year at Aylesbury Grammar School.

Born and raised in Winslow Mike, 28, now lives in London.

He attended Aylesbury Music Centre for five years when he was aged 13 to 18 and plays piano, counting Duke Ellington and Count Basie amongst his main influences.

He said: “I was being approached to play at events and parties, and I wanted to form a band to take care of that sort of thing with people from school and the centre.

“Ten years down the line it’s still going, with mostly the same people. Some have gone abroad and others have come in, but most are the originals.”

The band usually plays as a 10 piece, and there will be seven musicians at the Waterside gig on Saturday.

Alongside Mike on paino there will be John Rixon from Aylesbury on bass; Hugo Fagandini from Surrey on drums; Amelia Forster from Brill on keyboards; Max Fagandini from Surrey on trumpet; Claire Waterhouse from Bierton on saxophone; and Megan McConnell from Northern Ireland as the vocalist.

Mike said: “We call ourselves a swing band, and mostly play classic swing music from the Thirties and Forties. There is a vintage theme. But for the Waterside gig we will also play for ballroom, Latin, and cha cha.

“It’s lovely to sit at the piano and look out to see everyone dancing. People do different styles of dancing, swing, jive, ballroom, freestyle.

“I’m lucky to make my living from doing something that is so much fun. My family still live locally and will all be there.”

The band has performed at festivals and at venues including Wembley Stadium, The Natual History Museum, Ronnie Scott’s Jazz Club and Claridges.

The Big Band Night is at 7.30pm on Saturday. The theatre bars will be open all evening.

Patrons can buy tickets for the dance floor, £18 or as spectators in the Circle, £14. Box office 0844 871 7607.