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All that jazz: Big Band Festival


Dust off your dancing shoes because the Christchurch Big Band Festival is gearing up for its 14th annual musical extravaganza this Labour weekend. Through rain, shine, earthquakes and now a global pandemic; the sweet sounds of smooth jazz will be gracing the city’s ears during the unique five-day music festival.

 

 

Performers from all over New Zealand will flood in, followed by hundreds of partners and supporters, for the much-anticipated event. Riverside Market, Salt (Evolution) Square, the Christchurch Botanic Gardens, Tūranga Library, and many more quintessential Canterbury locations will serve as the backdrop for 24 mini concerts.

Run by the community for the community, it is an event for everyone to enjoy whether you are part of the swing dance community, a proud parent or supporter, jazz enthusiast or a curious passer-by.

A new and unique feature this year is the debut of the Big Band Ball at Welles Street on Sunday October 25. For $40 you can get your swing on and dance the night away to three amazing big bands.

Continuous canapes and a cash bar will equal a great night – and perhaps some sore feet for the famous big band picnic the following day.

The festival runs from October 22 to 26, 2020, with something for all ages from early child to the retired. For more information about the festival, programme or ticketed events visit the festival website.


 

String to her bow

String to her bow: Cathy Irons


Acclaimed violinist Cathy Irons has added another string to her bow – pardon the pun – for the Classical Jazz Quartet’s concerts in Southern Lakes later this month.

 

String to her bow

 

Cathy and fellow Christchurch-based musicians Barry Brinson (piano/keyboard), Michael Davis (bass) and Doug Brush (drums) return for two shows at Labour Weekend, following their warm reception at Arrowtown Spring Arts Festival 2017.
The quartet is excited to be performing together again, and Cathy promises that lovers of both jazz and classical genres will be entertained. “The audience comes along on a journey with us,” she says. “We give music a makeover, taking people’s favourites and infusing them with fresh inspiration and rhythmic drive.”

Reflecting her passion for music and dedication to her craft, Cathy has been learning to play the viola especially for the southern shows. This means she will be able to play ‘Tango,’ which is a movement from Bolling’s Suite for Violin and Jazz Piano Trio. Acquiring this new skill is no mean feat: the viola is larger than the violin and playing it is more physically taxing on the fingers.

Cathy says the concert programme includes Vivaldi’s ‘Spring’ from the Four Seasons – “we’re going to have a bit of fun with that” – and C.P.E. Bach’s ‘Solfeggietto.’ “People might not know that title, but they’ll recognise it when they hear it.” CJQ perform at The Rippon Hall (Wanaka) on Saturday 20 October and at Thomas L. Brown Gallery (Lake Hayes, near Queenstown) on Sunday 21 October. Tickets available through Eventfinda, plus there will be limited door sales.