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Home > Blogs > Melbourne > December 2016 > On the Road with the AIM Big Band
On the Road with the AIM Big Band

On the Road with the AIM Big Band

01 December 2016
A couple of months ago, the Associate Dean Jamie Rigg called me up and asked me if I’d like to go out on the road with the AIM Big Band.  “Umm, is that a trick question?” I exclaimed. Or at least, I did in my head.  Instead, I politely replied, “I would love that.”  #restraint

Anyway, my boring phone conversations aside, on Sunday 30th November I jumped on the coach with the AIM Big Band to travel 250km to the Wangaratta Festival of Jazz & Blues.

Held over three days and nights, Wangaratta Festival is one of Australia’s most prestigious jazz festivals and has been going for 25 years.  Acts at this year’s festival included James Morrison, Melissa Aldana and the Pierce Brothers. Saxophonist Mike Rivett won the 2016 National Jazz Award which was also announced on the final day.



The AIM Big Band’s 40 minute set was played on the Riverside Community Stage and was a hit with the crowd. More than a few pages of sheet music and trombone slides may have been blown away by the strong winds, but the big band played on!

This year’s set list comprised:

·       Big Swing Face (by Buddy Rich, a Bill Potts arrangement)
·       Here Comes Julian (by Heiner Wiberny, a Peter Herbolzheimer arrangement)
·       Love for Sale (by Cole Porter, a Daryl McKenzie arrangement)
·       Bye Bye Blackbird (by Ray Henderson, an Andrew Murray arrangement)
·       Daughters (by John Mayer, an Andrew Murray arrangement)
·       I Can’t Stop Loving You (by Don Gibson, a Tim Oram arrangement)



The day involved 23 band members, led by Band Co-Director Niels Rosendahl and Vocal Director Louisa Rankin.  Both students and teachers (and sometimes guests!) form the whole big band experience at AIM, including the Senior Coordinator of the Melbourne Contemporary Department, Daryl McKenzie.  The following is a list of the dedicated souls of the AIM Big Band that played Wangaratta this year, accompanied by an equally dedicated selection of introductory puns.

To begin with, there are those with serious sax appeal:

Lachie Mowat – Alto Sax 1
Georgia Cam – Alto Sax 2
Bridget Sharp – Alto Sax 2
Virginia Dennis – Bari Sax 1
Jack Simmons – Tenor Sax 1
Nick Smith – Tenor Sax 2

Some of the group were particularly vocal about their involvement:
Steven Throup – Vocalist
Erin Campbell – Vocalist
Jake Marra – Vocalist
Kama Austen - Vocalist

I have a (trom)bone to pick with these guys:
Connor McIndoe – Trombone 1
Michael Pehm – Trombone 2
Daryl McKenzie – Trombone 3 (staff)
Brittany Van Zeil – Bass Trombone (guest from James Morrison Academy)

There are some who like to toot their own horn:
Robert Rizzo – Trumpet 1
Simon O’Neill – Trumpet 2 (staff)
Jade Kerber – Trumpet 3
John Dyer – Trumpet 4

Some are key(s) to the whole thing:
Catherine Chin – Piano
Others like to string you along:
Sam O’Connor – Guitar
Sean Close – Electric & Upright Bass

Finally, I don’t know how they get away with it … but these two actually bang on stage!
David Ulucay – Drums & Percussion
Brooke Custerson – Drums & Percussion


It was awesome coming along with the band for the day, and one of the stage managers on the day commented that the AIM Big Band received the greatest reaction from the audience out of the whole day!  That’s great feedback, and I certainly thought the performance was bloody awesome.  Great job all and can’t wait for next year!  If I get asked again … #iwishicouldplayhorns



Words by Riley Nottingham
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