We are setting up the cabaret tables and clearing space for the dance floor as the Apollo Big Band roll into the Great Hall on Saturday. You may have seen their multi-talented singer (and Maltings’ own) Steph Richardson perform at our summer live music season Grills and Guitars or at our 50th anniversary festival last year. We caught up with her to chat more about her involvement with the Apollo Big Band including the family connection, as well as what the audience can expect from the show.
How did you get to sing with Apollo Big Band?
I grew up listening to the Apollo Big Band as they were part of my local live music scene (and my Dad played saxophone in the band!). I remember they let me come and sing with them once or twice in a rehearsal as a child. It was great fun, especially as I had a passion for jazz (particularly depressing, melancholic songs). I loved telling different people’s stories through songs, and having the opportunity to practice this skill with real musicians was invaluable.
I’ve sung with a few bands over the years, but Apollo have a special place in my heart – not only because they bring brilliant music to life, but they’re all genuinely lovely people.
Music clearly runs in the family as your Dad is one of the performers, what’s it like to share the stage with him?
I love performing on stage with my Dad. It gives me a chance to make fun of him in public. A vice versa.
Which are your favourite songs to perform and what can the audience expect from the setlist?
There’s going to be a mixture of funky, danceable numbers and some more soulful, hearty numbers, so hopefully they’ll be something for everyone who comes. I love a good jazzed-up modern song (a bit like Scott Bradlee’s Postmodern Jukebox), and having grown up listening to Sarah Vaughan and Ella Fitzgerald, it’s wonderful to be able to pay tribute to those amazing jazz musicians too. The band will also tear the place down with a few raucous numbers, and some classic recognisable big band tunes.
What would you say to someone who’s never seen a big band before?
There’s so much going on in a big band: trombones, trumpets, saxophones, piano, bass, drums, guitar… what a mash-up. They’re usually associated with the 1940s and vintage events, but as Apollo, we like to keep big band music up to date and relevant. There’s so much fab music being created today, and by celebrating old and new arrangements we can really show off the fantastic musicians we have in the band and give the audience a great night out.
If you could meet anyone in the music industry, dead or alive, who would it be?
Barbra Streisand. Just for a hug. That would be great.
Join Steph and the Apollo Big Band live in the Great Hall on Sat 29 February 2020 – book tickets