Chichester Big Band return to the live stage

Chichester Big Band return to the live stage with an afternoon concert of nostalgic big band music in the Assembly Room, Chichester on Saturday, October 16 at 2.15pm.

Chichester Big Band  - Beverly Cerexhe-Dickens
Chichester Big Band - Beverly Cerexhe-Dickens

Tickets are on

Band founder Beverly Cerexhe-Dickens is delighted to offer a 16-strong line-up, all of whom joined up before the pandemic and are still with the band now.

“We started in November 2019 and then we had about three months’ rehearsing and it was all going wonderfully, and we had a fabulous VE Day event planned, but it all fell flat on its face. We were able to rehearse again when we were allowed with strict social distancing. It wasn’t very pleasant.

“There were so many restrictions, and some people were afraid to rehearse, which was understandable, but we have been rehearsing now since when we have been allowed. Everybody has got back together and we are rehearsing now for the concert in Chichester. ”

The Saturday afternoon timing will be perfect: “A lot of the older generation won’t want to be out at a concert at 11 o’clock at night!”

As Beverly explains, she set up the band with the aim of bringing big band music to Chichester.

“There wasn’t a big band in Chichester. I looked for one and I was astonished that there wasn’t one, and so I set up one.

“It wasn’t easy, but it wasn’t hard. I am used to rounding up tradesmen with the business that I have so I just switched to rounding up musicians, and I roped in my partner as musical director.

“I have got 16 musicians. It took a long time to get a full band together, particularly trombones.

“They are so hard to get. There just don’t seem to be many of them.

“I don’t know if it is a hard instrument to learn, but they seem to be few on the ground. But we have got enough and we aren’t actually looking for anyone at the moment.”

And Beverly is delighted to say that everyone she had in the band pre-pandemic has now come back.

“They enjoyed doing it. They love it. It’s a friendly band. We change the music around for people. We have fun. We have a good time.”

They rehearse once a week, on a Monday night in the Bassil Shippam Centre, Tozer Way, Chichester.

“We are not just a rehearsing band. We want to get out there and play.

“Our ultimate plan is to have a big band night once a month at the Assembly Room.

“That’s our plan for next year. Also next year I would love to take the band to Chartres, our twin town”

For Beverly, the music has been a life-long passion – and she is delighted to get the chance to deliver it on the concert platform.

“I just love big band music. My grandfather had a big band in the 1930s, and I just love the sound. It is very nostalgic.

“It goes right back to the 20s and 30s.

“It is not something that has only been around recently. You can tap your toes to it. You can dance to it. I just love it!”