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Jazzing it up with the Kate Street Big Band

Updated: Nov 10, 2022

Come on down to the Sherwood Arboretum on Saturday, 10 December from 3pm where you will be dazzled by performances by local musicians like the Kate Street Big Band.

The Kate Street Big Band is a jazz band based in west Brisbane, fronted by a dynamic vocalist.

Part of BrizWest Community Music Ensembles Inc, we began life as an Adult Learners Band

in January 1998, directed by Koss Siwers, an instrumental teacher. Koss had advertised locally for "Adults who want to play in a learners band – bring your instrument, a willingness to learn, and a sense of humour".

That initial group of about 30 players had a lot of fun as we developed our skills and music knowledge. We now have two bands: the West Winds Concert Band (previously the BrizWest Concert Band) and the Kate Street Big Band (previously the Kate Street Mob Jazz Band, or KSM). These days, our players range from semi-professionals to mid-level amateurs, and from senior citizens to students. Some of the original learners still play with us. Both bands aim to entertain our audience with a high standard of performance.

Our excellent first trumpet player Philip (Pip) Harden is also our interim music director. We

would love him to continue as director but it’s difficult to direct the band and play lead

trumpet at the same time. Pip studied the trumpet at the University of Queensland and after graduating, Pip joined the orchestra on the cruise ship Celebrity Infinity, playing Broadway-style shows and big band dance sets. When he returned to Australia, he became an instrumental music teacher at a private college. Like many music teachers, Pip is a multi-instrumentalist. Some of the instruments he plays include flute, clarinet, saxophone, guitar, drums, electric bass, cello, and the brass family, such as euphonium and baritone. He’s also working on improving his skills on the piano, upright bass and violin, and would love to own a tuba. Pip enjoys playing music from across the spectrum –orchestral symphonies to jazz quartets and even island reggae. Besides his brilliant work with Kate Street Big Band, Pip also plays trumpet in Valtozash, Australia’s first jazz-metal big band. They are heavy and loud – and nothing like Kate Street Big Band.

In 2021 we were lucky enough to have local jazz vocalist Naomi Doessel join the band.

Naomi is a singing teacher in inner west Brisbane, specialising in contemporary vocal styles, and a regular performer at the Brisbane Jazz Club. Educated at the Queensland Conservatorium of Music, Naomi brings her natural comedic timing and powerhouse vocals to Kate Street Big Band’s varied repertoire. Naomi also sings in Brisbane vocal group Sound Avenue, and some of her friends will be joining us on Andrew’s sisters type harmonies for our WWII show at the Brisbane Jazz Club on Sunday 12th February – so pop that one in the diary!

For the Sherwood Festival this year, when Kate Street Big Band kick into gear, you’ll be

swinging along in no time! We’ll perform our favourite tunes from this year’s repertoire, as

well as some jazz and funk versions of Christmas music. Kate Street Big Band is proud to

have been playing at the Sherwood Festival since 2009 and we look forward to playing again

at the beautiful Sherwood Arboretum.


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