Well now, what a year 2018 has been for the band line ups we run under the banner of Just Great Events - Kal's Kats, Kalamazoo Dance Band and The Regency Dance Orchestra.
The Regency Dance Orchestra
We have literally travelled the length and breadth of the UK as well as building upon our presence in Europe and the Middle East. Every time we have played, we have literally brought the house down so much so that 60% of our bookings come from the previous years performances. https://youtu.be/fN0BkpOIszI
We have played for charities with all proceeds going to very worthy causes (https://youtu.be/tP-EH6OeW8s)
weddings (111 weddings thus far including this beauty for Rosie and Jacob Needham https://youtu.be/GpRR7BwbsyI)
private parties for just a small gathering, to huge festivals such as RetroFestival, CarFest (rubbing shoulders with Chris Evans and Jools Holland) to name but a few. https://youtu.be/jPqLGCxomTE
We have played for a significant number of 40's https://youtu.be/kDQ906jFiAo
and wartime events with our Kalamazoo Dance Band https://youtu.be/I8xmJ26AEXU line up proving extremely popular in authentic U.S. Army Air Force uniforms. https://youtu.be/d13vxYHEt40
We have thrilled audiences with our Kal's Kats line up in three different guises bringing great fun and dancing to Peaky Blinder events https://youtu.be/6O-wT_Sjts0
then our Great Gatsby parties have been a true blast https://youtu.be/146O-41y4sY and our 50's style vintage swing and rock n roll has had folks dancing themselves silly https://youtu.be/aCApm34Vn5A
Our more recent edition The Regency Dance Orchestra - strict tempo 30's and early 40's dance orchestra has featured at one of the most high profile vintage events in the UK - Riviera Swing led by Mark 'Snowboy' Cotgrove and Iain Dawson aka Viv the Spiv. Worth mentioning that we had spent literally the entire year rehearsing a brand new library of music from Al Bowly, Cole Porter, Irving Berlin and may others in preparation. We were good to go!! until the day before we were due to mini bus it down to Torquay when our superb trumpet player Roy promptly slipped at the top of his stairs at home and literally went from A...hole to earhole from top to bottom breaking the stair spindles out of the bannister, not to mention dislocating his shoulder, breaking ribs and knocking himself out - all the fun of the fair, but on a serious note, so delighted to know that Roy was in hospital, but OK. Despite all this drama, his main message to his good lady Ann was 'I'll be ok tomorrow :-) of course we all know there is no chance and so regrettably Roy stayed at home in bed daring not to cough, while we hoofed it down to Torquay to play our first ever official Regency Dance Orchestra (Which Roy was so looking forward to) ably supported by two fantastic guys who helped us out - Andy Stark on Trumpet and Peter Manfield on Double Bass and Sousaphone - Roy, we lifted a glass to you on that evening and glad to know you are all fully recovered.
We have written, recorded and performed an official World Cup 2018 football anthem and played it on air for BBC Radio Derby.https://youtu.be/C8kZZ4-0_TI as well as our feature in the Sir Daniel Day Lewis film Phantom Thread https://youtu.be/B0ikIFWJ4A0
We absolutely love what we do and this band of 9 musicians together with our wonderful vocalists led by Laura Brookes https://youtu.be/QMmvGYWIi0A and ably supported by Jules and Lou of the Bonito Sisters do such a great job in wowing and lifting the audiences - whether it be vintage swing or Andrews Sisters style https://youtu.be/OmVml9wiSuU the feedback is so uplifting and inspiring and simply makes it all so worthwhile.
I have asked these musicians to go beyond the mile on so many occasions and they simply stand up and deliver every time - without exception. For those of you out there who run bands or pull together teams of people, will know the struggles and logistics and issues that can impact or compound what should normally be simply 'just doing what needs to be done' and can make an otherwise simple job become a tortuous nightmare. I don't know whether I consider myself lucky or what, but this last 4 years of getting these bands together has been such a delight what with these like minded folk who simply deliver every time without question!! Clearly, they must all be enjoying themselves otherwise I'm sure they wouldn't do it, but travelling the miles we do takes up time away from families and loved ones all in the name of the music game and hence it has to be a damn good show every time to make them come back and do the very same time after time.
We have played 91 events this year not including 43 rehearsals on top to finely polish our music and stage presence. Our mantra is and will continue to be that of 'treat every event as though it was your first or last and delight the customers beyond their expectations'
I see other bands incorporate some of our ideas into their presentation and that's fine and a compliment to know that they see what we do as being worthy enough to want to copy and I have no issue with that and know without doubt that there are plenty of opportunities for everyone out there. You just have to stay focused on delivering the very best you can and moreover, listen and understand to the requirements of the customers while also providing meaningful guidance and advice to ensure their event is a most memorable occasion and oddly enough, in many cases, a band is by definition simply part of the whole event, but when the feedback received is such that people tell you that 'you made our wedding special for us' then that takes it all to another level.
We have made numerous friends and built an enviable following over this relatively short journey of 4 years and people now book tickets to see us at least a year in advance and will likewise travel ridiculous distances to spend their evenings/afternoons with us and we never take that for granted. We always always always keep very firmly in our minds that people have choices on where and how to spend their precious time and we consider it a real privilege when folks choose to spend that time with us and in return, we hope that we fulfilled that time commitment to highest level possible.
The new year sees us commence on our latest ambition, the introduction of a Soul and Motown band - we are actively rehearsing now with a raft of new tunes in place and new stand designs to be set up with a new name to get out there. Therefore, we will very shortly have 4 band line ups to choose from serving 7 music genres from Gatsby to Peaky Blinders, 50's vintage swing/rock n roll, Glenn Miller, Rat Pack, 30's and early 40's and then Soul and Motown.
I sincerely thank all the folks in the band line ups who make this journey so easy - but more importantly I thank my wife Marie and the partners of those in the band, especially Sylvia who are like pillars of strength and support us so much with time commitment and pushing us forward.
So as they say 'Auld lang Syne' https://youtu.be/dHTnmbuCQ2Y to 2018 and onwards to 2019.
Big congratulations to our sax player Paddy and Kayla who became engaged at Christmas and we wish them every happiness.
All our gigs are listed on the websites and we so look forward to seeing you all at some point around the country and eagerly anticipate what 2019 has in store for all of us on all our forward journey together.
Keep well, keep smiling and keep dancin'!! Kal xx