One or two dreamy smiling faces around the venue this afternoon.

Rising above the nearby site of the famous Battle of Sedgemoor, St Mary the Virgin at Westonzoyland offers a sanctuary very different now from that experienced by 500 rebels imprisoned therein and tremulously awaiting their fate in July 1685. Indeed, because this same church offers a monthly programme of live music with afternoon tea.

On 26 January, under the wings of angels in this most ‘splendid of Somerset’s perpendicular gothic architecture’ *, it was the turn of Swing Fever to entertain an audience of 150+. Many were already fans; this six-piece band has been around for many years and has travelled the world. One of its most prestigious gigs was Ned Kelly’s famous jazz club in Hong Kong. In recent years the band has stayed closer to home playing at many venues in and around Weston-super- Mare. Band leader and trumpet player Mac Kirby promised ‘Something for everyone’.

Their programme was varied: jazz (Duke Ellington, Kenny Ball, Johnny Dankworth and Acker Bilk); rhythm ‘n blues (Humphrey Littleton, a James Bond Pink Panther medley, Glen Miller’s Pennsylvania 6-5000/String of Pearls/Chattanooga Choo Choo) and some 60s pop – Billy Joel’s I (We) Love You Just the Way you Are. A 1930s-40s favourite too, It’s Only a Paper Moon. Anyone for a Strictly Quick Step?

Write-up courtesy Patsy & Robert Atkins (Polden Post editorial team & archive)

 . . . and a comment from Jenny McCubbin: The music sat surprisingly well in the church setting and the performers had an easy and unassuming style about them. A performance which had wide appeal judging by the full house, and clearly stirred some happy memories of dance hall days, looking at one or two dreamy smiling faces around the venue this afternoon.


Line up: clarinet and sax, Paul Kenward; trombone, Ian Hammond; piano, Colin Frechner; bass, Jim Pullen, drums; Dave Joyce; trumpet/leader, Mac Kirby.

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