The University of Manchester Jazz Orchestra has been running for the past 15 years. With over 25 members, the band plays a range of music including jazz, funk, soul and big band. Throughout the years the orchestra has organised a number of different gigs all over Manchester. I spoke to the society Chair Charlie Marshall who has been part of the band for four years. He told me about this year’s gigs and ones to look forward to in the future.
“One of our most successful gigs this year was held at Antwerp Mansion. We organised the event and got a line up with the Manchester Harmony Gospel choir and a ska band (The Skalactites) and then a couple of the Heads Up DJs to finish off the night. It was basically a night of live music for people to come and have a listen and a good time. It was really successful, we managed to pack out the main room with music from 9-2.30ish and the response we got was amazing. Everyone seemed to love it and the response from the audience while we were playing was fantastic. Antwerp have asked us to come back and do another gig so that’s something we’ll look to later in the year.”
The society’s success over 15 years is partly due to the great support of musician Roger Hughes. He has been involved in running the society from the beginning, providing musical input as well as being crucial in organising various gigs. “Another key member is Neil Kershaw, a trumpet player who has been in the group for many years and helps in the running of rehearsals as well as sorting out much of our music (not a small job).”
The band rehearses once a week, and if you want to get involved they hold auditions at the start of each year to fill spaces in the band as members leave. These spaces are obviously limited; however everyone is welcome to audition for the band. There is no need to be disheartened if you don’t make the cut however; Charlie explains how they always offer support to those with a keen passion of music. “What we try to do is encourage people who haven’t made it into the band to start up groups of their own. We try and support this by letting them use our Facebook page as a place for people to meet other musicians and we’re also happy to talk to people and give advice about setting up their own bands.”
You can visit the Facebook page at MUJO – Manchester University Jazz Orchestra
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