Musicians to play the Rat Pack hits to raise money

Band goes big on Oscar fundraising

By Paul Ainsworth

A NEW South Belfast “big band” is getting into the “swing” of the fundraising campaign for little Oscar Knox.

The 13-piece Balmoral Big Band was founded in recent weeks after members decided to help boost the profile of the Oscar Knox Appeal to send the three-year-old overseas to receive life-saving treatment.

The North Belfast boy suffers from a rare form of childhood cancer, and in recent months, fundraising events have been taking place all over the city and beyond.

Now a group of musicians is set to jazz up the campaign, and are organising a night of entertainment due to take place this autumn.

Named for the South Belfast hotel which offered their venue free of charge for the night, the Balmoral Big Band features members of the Ulster Jazz Orchestra, and experienced session musicians who will be playing the hits of the Rat Pack, including Frank Sinatra classics and music written by the Glen Millar band.

Speaking to the Belfast Media Group, founding members Noel Kerr and Tommy Morris said the band’s members were all dedicated to the appeal for little Oscar, and would plan further events should the first gig be a success.

East Belfast saxophonist Noel Kerr said: “We saw the campaign for wee Oscar, and how it was gathering pace, so a few of us thought we could do something to get involved. Some of us had been playing together in different outfits for years, but we were able to recruit more people, some from very experienced musical backgrounds, for the cause. They were more than happy to help fundraise and give up their time for Oscar.”

Tommy Morris, who hails from West Belfast and plays the trumpet, added: “We are thrilled with the line-up in the group, we even have members who have played with the likes of Van Morrison. We are also extremely grateful to the Balmoral Hotel, who have offered us the use of their venue completely free of charge, as they are keen to do what they can for Oscar also.”

Those attending the show can expect to hear swing band classics such as ‘Fly me to the Moon’, ‘Ain’t that a Kick in the Head’, and ‘In the Mood’.

“There are very few swing bands active in Belfast at the minute,” Noel added.

“We hope that if the evening is a success, we can continue as a group, and highlight the campaign to get Oscar the treatment he needs.”

The concert is set to be held at the Balmoral on October 21, and all proceeds will go to the Oscar Knox fundraising campaign. To make a donation for Oscar, visit www.justgiving.com/OscarAppeal.

 

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