Ding Dong blown away by big band sound

“Unbelievable, just unbelievable!”

When double Gold Logie winner Denise Drysdale, affectionately known as Ding Dong, went to her first rehearsal with the Sapphire Coast Concert Band and its smaller cousin, the Big Band, she was blown away by what she heard.

“I went to the first rehearsal and it was just amazing, the music coming out,” she told Fairfax Media on Monday night.

“There was this one lady who has only been a musician for five years. And then there’s this 13-year-old drummer.

“You should hear them, they’re brilliant!”

The seasoned screen and stage performer knows a thing or two about entertaining people, having been in the business for longer than she cares to admit.

Now a resident of Merimbula, she loves the chance to give something back to the local music community, happy to offer her services gratis for two performances on Saturday, May 31 (7.15pm) and Sunday June 1 (1.45pm matinee) at Club Sapphire.

The brainchildren behind this clever combo are identical twins, and Eden Marine High School teachers, Geoff and Dave Willis.

“The boys rang me out of the blue and said they had the Sapphire Coast Concert Band and the Big Band, and would I do the shows. I said ‘yes, of course’,” Denise said.

“We need to raise money for the band,” Geoff Willis said.

“It’s really, really magnificent that Denise has offered to do this for us.”

“That’s alright; I like to give a bit back!” Denise quips.

Monies raised from the very affordable $15 ticket price will go towards buying instruments and equipment for the bands.

And what can audiences expect for their $15?

“Some very, very good music and hopefully some fun and games too,” Ms Drysdale said.

Geoff Willis says fun is a must.

“Denise is not only the host, but she’s funny, she’s got stories, and the audience will love her,” he said.

The program on offer is split in two halves, with the first themed around ‘All that Jazz’ led by Geoff’s Big Band.

‘Minnie the Moocher’ is set to make an appearance, and the twins will accompany Denise in an old favourite, ‘Can’t take my eyes off of you’.

The second half will feature the Sapphire Coast Concert Band playing songs from the movies including Pirates of the Caribbean, Mary Poppins and Oliver.

Both Geoff and Dave Willis are award winning musicians in their own right, and have recently written a stage musical based on Harry Houdini, which they have successfully sold in the US.

They know good music and performance.

They say expect the best from the weekend performances.

“No one will have seen anything like this before,” Dave Willis said.

“It’s very professional, with proper lighting, proper sound, amazing sound.

“Professionalism is something really special.

“The audience is going to have a magnificent time – they will go ‘wow, I didn’t even know this existed’.

“If they play an instrument, they may want to join the band,” he said.

And that’s just fine with these musical masters.