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Hungerford Jazz Forum hits 20 with big birthday bash

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Hungerford Jazz Forum (HJF) hit a high note recently as it celebrated its 20th birthday at the Hungerford Royal British Legion.

The room was decorated with banners, bunting and huge balloons in the form of a giant 20 and birthday cakes were shared in the short interval.

HJF first came together in 2002 when Andy Richardson of Hungerford and George Wicks from Newbury identified the need for somewhere for established and learning musicians to get together to practice their art in public but also a safe and supportive atmosphere.

HJF 20th birthday party
HJF 20th birthday party

With the help of a lottery grant they brought together music stands and lights as well as amplifiers, speakers and a stack of jazz music books so that an almost professional stage set up could be provided. Over the past 20 years HJF has supported many amateur musicians in their quest to get into jazz and educate themselves in this art form as well as entertain the public. HJF also offers the chance for some groups to try out new material before they play at real, live gigs.

The celebration of this musical milestone was supported by many musicians who regularly turn up on the last Friday of each month as well as an audience who enjoy live music. As this was a special occasion many of the “old hands” who had moved away made a special effort the attend the party as well as a few new faces, first timers who had never previously been to HJF. One first timer from Epsom said “there is nothing like this in my area and maybe I should try to set up something locally” George added that “we are willing to help if we can”.

The full house was treated to an evening packed with jazz and so many numbers that it was hard to fit them all in. Musicians brought a piano, drums, upright bass, guitars, trumpets, a flugelhorn and several assorted saxophones. There were also singers including old hands and some new visitors.

The British Legion with its bar offers a wonderful venue and a very enjoyable evening of live music was had by all.

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