Band turns brass into gold

Mark A. Hadley


Members of the western Sydney's Bird Yard Big Band have poured their art and soul into an Anglican fundraising event for the victims of the recent tsunami.

The Saturday night concert organised by Springwood and Winmalee Anglican churches saw close to a hundred people swing to the sounds of big band numbers like "Think' and "Bad, Bad Leroy Brown'.

Fourth trumpet and concert organiser Graham Toulmin says it was a tough job combining good times with a serious message.

"We played a set of five songs then settled down to watch a video recorded by the India Gospel League showing the sort of devastation you just don't see on television," Mr Toulmin says.

Local member Kerry Bartlett spoke movingly about the tsunami and the relief effort and then introduced a minute’s silence.

Other bands might have faltered trying to match the mood of the night, but audience member Sally Anderson says Bird Yard knew how to cheer people up.
"After the tsunami video it was a really poignant moment. But generally the night was excellent and people were really getting into it," she says.

The 18 piece big band is no stranger to charity concerts and has previously helped raise money for good will causes like the Velores Hospital in South India and Jeans for Genes Day.

"A band like this doing a corporate gig could expect to pull in several thousands," Mr Toulmin says.

"But band members have frequently donated their services for charity."

Mr Toulmin says the concert was a great way of introducing the local community to the church's performance centre, "The Factory'.

Springwood and Winmalee Anglican churches will be building on their musical momentum, organising further jazz concerts as outreach events throughout the coming year.

"We're having six concerts this year called "Jazz at the Factory' and on April 2, we're having a "Gospel of the Groove' with former Moore College students playing," Mr Toulmin says.

People interested in "Jazz at the Factory' can visit the Springwood and Winmalee Anglican churches website.

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