The Midnight Parade was first performed by the Living Story Music Ensemble on the 6thMay 2019, as part of the Ribble Valley Jazz Festival. The performance consists of nine songs for an eight-piece jazz ensemble, which includes a singer and three trombones. The piece was written by Chris Bridges, with inspiration from the novel “The Master and Margerita” by Bulgakov. The story describes the Devil and various demons arriving in Moscow, and the songs have a particular focus on the chapters describing the devil’s May ball.
During three of the songs the sound of the band was enhanced by an amazing trombone choir. This group had come together during the two workshops which preceded the show. The first of these workshops was for anyone who had never played the trombone before during which participants were taught to play their first notes on a plastic pBone trombone (one of the participants was an 80-year-old playing music for the first time). They were then joined by players of varying experience for the second workshop, during which participants learned the parts for the songs as well as exploring ideas for improvisation.
Enjoy two of the songs, which both include the mighty trombone choir;
On the 11th October 2014 the Living Story Music Ensemble performed a commissioned work as part of the Marsden Jazz Festival. Chris Bridges wrote the words and music for I Have A Duck Who Can Roar, with pictures by Ann Gilligan of Green Monster Arts.
With a fantastic band comprising Hugh Lawrence on Drums, Dave Tompkins on Bass, Keith Phillips on Guitar, John Ellis on Piano, Andy Morel on Saxophone, Chris Bridges on Trombone and the amazing narration of Mary Oliver the show includes lots of audience participation, and is a celebration of new music and storytelling.
Two performances took place at 12 and 2, transforming the normally tranquil Standedge Tunnel Visitors Centre with scenes of dancing, singing, roaring like a duck and a very silly conga. Children sat watching and listening as the story was told, the band played and the pictures were projected on to a large screen, but then joined in for a final rendition of “And We Shake Our Tail Feathers”.
Music and storytelling go together to make each a little more exciting. The Living Story Music Ensemble performed for the first time in the 2011 Manchester Jazz Festival, playing a musical version of Julia Donaldson’s brilliant story, The Smartest Giant in Town. The idea was to offer a family friendly event as part of a great jazz festival without compromising any aspects of the music. With an amazing but highly individual group of musicians performing some strange and quirky tunes, following the wonderful narration and singing of Mary Oliver in some outrageous improvisations it was successful in this performance and at later performances in the Manchester Museum of Science and Industry, at the Ribble Valley Jazz Festival and at the Marsden Jazz Festival.