Singing up: Steph Richardson

Third-year Drama student, member of Chamber Choir, conductor of Sing!, a former conductor of the University Chamber Choir,  and now singer with this year’s Big Band (phew), Steph Richardson, on her favourite music and working with the Big Band this year.


I have been an adamant lover of jazz from a very early age. Ella Fitzgerald was, of course, my first port of call, but now my slightly more attuned ears can bear the wild scats of the great Sarah Vaughan – although I would be pushed to perform her crazy version of Perdido in public. I am all too keen to listen to the 1000th revival of Miller’s In the Mood and am almost too prepared to drop anything and dance whenever the drum introduction of Sing! Sing! Sing! is heard.

First Lady of Jazz at Kent: Steph Richardson

First Lady of Jazz at Kent: Steph Richardson

This being said, while the UKC Big Band’s wide repertoire this year includes some classics, it is also incorporating a few newbies which suit the genre so much – I daren’t give the game away, but as the gig is called ‘Bond to Basie’ I don’t think it will be too much of a shock to reveal that it’s not Samantha Bond’s theme tunes that will feature heavily in our performance… I am very excited about the UKC Big Band gig approaching.

As someone who rebelled ruthlessly when I was told by my singing teacher at the age of twelve that I was too young to sing Bewitched, Bothered and Bewildered, I am so happy that the music department are including me in the Big Band scene this year! I have sung in a six-piece jazz band for 6 years now in Berkshire, but have only had the opportunity to perform a few songs with a Big Band. It is such a different way of both rehearsing and performing. Unfortunately for me, unlike in a session jam, if I go wrong I can’t just turn around and shout to three-dozen musicians ‘Just do the chorus again!’ – but it’s a learning curve.

Everyone in the band is so friendly and has been very welcoming to the new singer this year. However, I’ve found that it doesn’t matter how many times you have performed in your life, rehearsing a new song with thirty accomplished musicians staring at you is still quite nerve-racking.

The sound we are creating is super, and thank goodness Ian is keeping us on our toes with constant changes to this bar and that bar. He has really made the repertoire entirely unique to us, which will be a treat for those who come to listen on 15 March. The only shame is that there is no dance floor in the spanking-new Colyer-Fergusson hall. Oh well, maybe in the next building…. 😮

Steph Richardson

1 comment

    • Alan Thomas on March 17, 2013 at 5:17 pm

    My wife and I enjoyed your performance at the Big Band concert on 15 March. We live locally and consider ourselves very fortunate to have the Gulbenkian Theatre and cinema so close at hand. Now with the completion of the magnificent Collyer Ferguson hall, we feel even luckier. We did not expect the concert last Friday to be as good as it was and were quite overwhelmed by the quality of the musicianship and your singing. To listen to your version of Skyfall caused me to think that Adele had better watch out. I have loved all types of live music for all of my 77 years and it gives me a good feeling when I see young performers such as you pop up from time to time at the beginning of what will undoubtedly be a very successful career. Thank you for bringing such pleasureacross the generations.

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