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kw big band theory

"This fantastic big band packs an irresistible wallop of musical entertainment - spirited, talented and fun!" says Grand River Jazz Society’s president Stephen Preece. Since its inception in October 2011, this premier regional big band has performed many times locally, sometimes for charity (Books for Kids, United Way, Cameron Heights Collegiate Swing Dance, K-W Naval Association), or just for fun (Waterloo Jazz Festival, The Jazz Room, The Registry Theatre), and always with intensity and musicality. 

The band has brought a great variety of programs to their audiences: from Count Basie and the old swing dance classics, to punchy horn bands of the 70's and 80's, as well as contemporary big band arrangements by Gordon Goodwin and L.A.’s Big Phat Band. 


A highlight in their history has been performing on three occasions with legendary Canadian jazz musician, Don Thompson on vibraphone. With the assistance of the Waterloo Regional Arts Fund, The Registry Theatre presented one of those performances, which was recorded for Big Band Theory’s debut CD Evidence. The 2014 disc featured the writing and arrangements of members and friends of the band, including Don Thompson, and was produced by JUNO Award winner Richard Hutt. “Evidence” has received national radio play on Jazz.FM91 and is available through their website


As well, BBT has performed the music and arrangements of Juno award winning musician, composer and arranger John MacLeod of the Rex Hotel Orchestra of Toronto, Ontario and Juno award winning guitarist, composer and band leader Michael Occhipinti. Both of these iconic Toronto based musicians have commented on the quality and professionalism of this local band.


In December of 2018, BBT released their second recording entitled: “A Swingin’ Joy” which features the voices of Derek Hines, Joni NehRita and Randy Lyght. The album was recorded during Christmas concerts at the Registry Theatre in 2017 and 2016 and is produced by Rick Hutt at Cedartree Studio.


In June of 2019, Glenn Woodcok of Jazz FM 91.1 wrote that KW Big Band Theory was one of 14 bands in North America keeping the sound of big band music alive. It is both a thrill and honour to even be mentioned in the company of so many other world-renown bands.


More information can be found at





Ken Hadley, Tim Moher, Ken Foster, Taylor Ellingham, Gabriella Ellingham



Randy Brown, Kevin Kalbfleisch, Alan Ralston, Rob Gellner



Robin Jessome, Kathryn Scobie, Steve Hagedorn, Paul Ellingham, Sam Meakin                                    


Rhythm section:

Jeff Daniels, Greg Prior, Lukas Bouda, Andy Macpherson


Vocals: Derek Hines

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