June 22, 2023

Big band plans to party at summer gig

A popular party band is aiming to get summer crowds dancing at a stately home gig raising funds for Sheringham Little Theatre.

The Lee Vasey Big Band will perform in the grounds of Mannington Hall on Friday July 21 – returning to a venue they last visited more than a decade ago.

Bandleader Lee’s nine-piece group will be in action in the tree-lined parkland outside the moat of the hall, which is the home to theatre president Lady Walpole.

Lee said: “It is a great setting and I’m looking forward to playing there again. It will be a party set list to give people have a good time.”

The Mannington gig is a fundraiser for the Little Theatre, and director Debbie Thompson said: “I am so pleased we are able to bring back this fantastic event. There is nothing better on a summer’s evening than dancing the night away to the Lee Vasey Big Band in such a beautiful setting.”

The party band format began in the 1990s but Lee, now 68, has been performing since he was 15 back in his native Teesside.

“I always wanted to be a guitarist. My brother was a musician so I used to pinch his gear for practice when he was out,” he explained.

They both gigged in a band called The Pipeline where the drummer was his cousin Roy “Chubby” Brown, whose real name is Royston Vasey and who went on to be a controversial stand-up comic.

Lee’s professional guitar playing career saw him work in a string of bands, including a spell with the resident disco group at the Samson and Hercules in Norwich from 1981, as well as work in Nottingham and abroad before returning to Norfolk “to marry a Norfolk girl and have kids.”

These days he is busy all week in a variety of line-ups and styles from jazz at the Norwich Wine Cellar to duo work, country, pop and the big band.

The Lee Vasey Big Band gig is part of a summer music weekend at Mannington which also features the gentler classical sounds of The Flutes and Frets Duo the following evening on the other side of the moat in the walled garden. Beth Stone and Daniel Murphy will play a mix of music from medieval to the modern day on instruments from the time the tunes were written.

Gates open for both concerts at 6.30pm. Tickets (£18 Lee Vasey, £16 Flutes and Frets) can be purchased here or the box office on 01263 822347.

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