Swing band set for debut on home turf in Ribble Valley

Sensational new band Vintage Swing Thing is set to makes it debut in Clitheroe next month.
Sensational new band Vintage Swing Thing is set to makes it debut in Clitheroe next month.

Ribble Valley crooner Nicholas James Gunn is shooting for the stars with his new ensemble which is set to make its debut in Clitheroe next month, writes Tony Dewhurst.

Nicholas James Gunn’s Vintage Swing Thing is a sensational new seven-piece swing company which will stage its first show at the Grand Theatre on Saturday, September 30th.

Nicholas said: “It all started when I sang a few Frank Sinatra songs at a wedding at Mitton Hall, and it has grown from a bit of a hobby into a band, with one of my best mates Jamie Turner.

“There will be something for everyone, with classic swing, Sinatra, Ella Fitzgerald and Nat King Cole and lots of songs that people know that we re-work into a classic 20s and 30s style.

“For example, Africa by Toto and Hot Chocolate’s I Believe in Miracles and it seems to work a treat.

“We’ve got a great singer too, Helena Johnson, as the other lead vocalist, plus we’ll have an extended brass section at the Grand.

“Helena is a brilliant performer and adds that extra sass you need in a band like this.

“If it goes well at the Grand we’d love to take the show on a theatre tour.”

Gunn's charm and stage presence is already well known in the local dramatics scene, and landed him a top am-dram gong for his performance as Best Leading male in a Musical at the National Operatic and Dramatic Association awards.

Gunn wowed the judges with his show-stopping portrayal of Bill Snibson in Blackburn Musical Theatre Company’s Me and my Girl.

The show, staged at Blackburn’s Thwaites Empire, featured Gunn as the leading man in Douglas Furber’s 1930s musical.

Gunn, who attended St Augustine’s High School, Billington, and St Mary’s College, Blackburn, said: “I had no acting background whatsoever and I only came to it by chance, so it was special to win that award.”

Gunn, who sang in his school choir and also played in the swing band, caught the acting bug when he was invited to the Blackburn Thwaites Empire by a family friend to see their production of Fiddler on the Roof.

Nicholas said: “One of the cast said I should give it a try and explained that there was a small role going in the next production.

“When I got home and opened the script it was the lead role of Billy in Anything Goes.

“It has gone from there really and it is so much fun.”

The 25-year-old actor and singer has since played leading parts in Guys and Dolls, Carousel and Crazy For You.

Gunn also proudly performed at Liverpool’s St George’s Concert Hall alongside world-renowned opera star Roy Wessensteiner, with other members of his musical society.