Tag Archives: Chosen Few Jazz Orchestra

Beyond the Sea with the Basingstoke Tappers

Last night we had our now traditional late July trip down to Basingstoke to see the annual Basingstoke Tappers show with our friends Catherine on stage, and her husband Phil hard at work keeping the whole show running smoothly as stage manager.

In pre-publicity the show, Beyond the Sea, had been subtitled ‘Cruising with the Tappers’ – but the theme had broadened somewhat giving pretty much of a world cruise, taking in places including London, Paris, Russia and Cuba to name a few.

After a break last year, the Chosen Few Big Band were back, and certainly earned their keep playing for every other number. It certainly seems to be more flexible in terms of routines to have a live band, as they can include short reprises to cover clearing the stage – something that is difficult to do with pre-recorded tracks, quite apart from the experience for the participants of working with live music. There were also a good number of contributions from Tappers regular Steve Pert, who took plenty of advantage of having the big band around to do some of the standards. Alongside Steve there was a new face for the shows in the form of Trisha Bassett an Ascot based singer. One of the dancers, Francesca McMahon also showed how far she has come since she sang for the first time in one of the earlier shows, performing a version of Midnight at the Oasis.

One of Steve’s numbers that caught Beth by surprise was when he performed Jump. Beth has only ever come across the original Van Halen version, whereas with a big band, Steve did the Paul Anka version, which like the whole album – Rock Swings – is quite a surprise when you’ve only ever heard the original.

Being the fifteenth year of the Tappers show, the Friday night performance was graced with the presence of the Mayor of Basingstoke, and there was a chance to reminisce over some of the past shows, and even a return to the amazing basketball routine from last year (and again nobody dropped the ball this time around either). What is a testament to the people in the company was when towards the end the members came forward grouped by how long they had been part of the company – although there was a good crowd of newbies, the majority have been dancing with the company for ten to fifteen years.

Certainly it was as entertaining as ever, mixing good music, cute moments with the real little ones, and even the odd quirky moments – the two penguins in the decidedly tropical Under the Sea I guess must have been on holiday!

‘The Chosen Few’ jazz orchestra @ the Tappers ’07 show originally uploaded by Tahbepet.

Showstoppin’ 3

Anvil Stage

Last night we made what has become an annual trip to see the Basingstoke Tappers & Jazz Dance Company annual show at The Anvil in Basingstoke. The fact that I would willingly attend a dance show is probably a surprise to some people, probably due to the many years when I was in drama classes when I was a child, and we shared our annual show with the local dance school – but thats another story!

Anyway, we do have a lot of fun going along to see the Tappers show every year, and this year was no exception. Our link with the dance company is via Catherine and Phil. Catherine has danced in the shows for many years, and Phil has stage managed the shows for the past couple of years, having married into it when he and Catherine tied the knot a couple of years ago. What keeps us going back though is that despite it being a showcase for an amateur dance company, complete with the really young beginners who only know a couple of steps, the production values are second to none.

The music has always been good, thanks to various contacts in the industry they get a selection of experienced professional musicians who give up their time for the show, however over the past few years the staging and scenery has been amazing. For example a couple of years ago they performed numbers from the Lion King musical, complete with home built versions of some of the animal costumes. This year they recreated Chitty Chitty Bang Bang on the stage, We Will Rock You with explosions on stage, and finished with Mary Poppins, complete with a flying Mary Poppins.

The music this year was again boosted by the presence of the Chosen Few Jazz Orchestra, who first appeared in the show last year when they provided the big band backing for some Las Vegas style numbers. However this year they were present on stage through the whole of the show, allowing the dancers to dance to a real band rather than CD’s for a lot of the show. Whilst many of the numbers would be a bit of a disappointment to fans of the orchestra, as most numbers in the musicals aren’t written for 13 piece brass sections, there were three points in the show where we got a sample of their big band sound. Also as before they played on after the stage had cleared despite the usual mass exodus by most of the audience to the car park, bar or whatever (which this year started before the dancers had even cleared the stage, to the point that the circle was almost empty when the last dancers had left), although we stayed to the end to give them a cheer when they had finished – not often you get to a twenty piece band live!

Anyway, if you want to support a local dance school, whilst at the same time hearing some west end quality music, without paying west end prices, put the last weekend in July 2006 in your diaries!