written by Katie Elmore

5 stars

Reminiscent of a Rihanna concert, the Tiffin Swing Band starts their set late.

Granted, it’s only five minutes late, but having seen the Swing Band perform before and impatiently waited for the next incredible show from them, it may as well have been an eternity.

The set opens with Sing Sing Sing featuring a solo on clarinet from Claire McAvoy and the incredible drumming skills of Dae Hyun Lee, and instantly the audience is hit with a wall of pure sound.

But with that sound comes life, colour and joy that you would expect from a professional band, not a band of upper-school teenagers.

Despite the highly professional vibe coming from the band, you are reminded of the fact that they are actually teenagers; the trumpeters in particular seem to be really enjoying themselves throughout the whole of the set.

Whereas more ‘experienced’ bands may not be able to get away with the occasional impromptu dance move, it fits in well with the fun atmosphere of the evening.

Playing on a backdrop of a church undergoing renovation with signs that read, “hard hats must be worn”, this group is obviously capable of adaptation from the more sophisticated venues that they have played at, such as the Rose Theatre.

When they begin to play Strike Up The Band, conductor Simon Ferris reminds the old members of the band who are present of the times when they played with the group, giving a heart warming personal touch.

Soon the swing band is joined by singer Nick Wong who opens with Fly Me to the Moon and shows the flexibility of his voice when he sings One for my Baby and One for the Road, a slow piece with just a voice and a piano which leaves you thinking that Wong’s voice could fill a room with or without the assistance of a microphone.

The other singer is Annabelle Johnson, whose voice has noticeably matured and improved over time; Johnson has never sounded so good.

Her incredible range is shown when she sings Mercy Mercy and she seems hits the high notes effortlessly, giving the whole evening style and class.

Eventually, the last ever show from the band’s current line-up comes to a close with four Latin songs, introducing new instruments like the timbale and vibraphone, both played by Ben Porter.

The final piece – the modern and well-known Soul Bossa Nova – is an upbeat and delightful end to the evening, featuring solos from Matt Elmore on alto saxophone and Alex “Curly” Hawkings on trombone, and the amusing appearance of a triangle.

From the point of view of someone who thrives on heavy metal/punk music, also known as the last person in the entire world you would ever expect to enjoy a jazz performance, it was –and it almost pains me to say this- genuinely difficult not to enjoy yourself.

Having seen the Tiffin Swing Band perform before, they were not quite at their best this evening and could have been more rehearsed and in time with each other, but nor were they at their worst – far from it.

Even though the Tiffin Swing Band will be introducing new members along with changes in style and sound, the only guarantee is that the Swing Band was, and always will be, phenomenal.

Based on information supplied by Matt Gleinig.