The stage is set for band leader Nick’s return to theatre

Nick Ross

Nick Ross - Credit: Archant

A renowned band leader is set to make a return to the scene of his first professional show when he takes to the stage at the Theatre Royal, Bury St Edmunds next week.

Nick Ross, who was born in Newmarket before attending St Louis Middle School and then St Benedict’s Catholic School in Bury said the Regency venue was also his first taste of live performance.

“I was about seven or eight I think and it was a panto at the Theatre Royal,” he said.

“For a young child to be totally absorbed in the sights and sounds of something live was amazing.”

But it was another childhood experience that set Mr Ross on the road to being a Big Band leader.

He said: “My grandmother’s sister married an American serviceman and he sneaked us onto RAF Mildenhall in 1976 and the Syd Lawrence Orchestra was playing.”

He fell in love with Big Band music that day.

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“Quite a lot of our guys were in the Syd Lawrence Orchestra,” said Mr Ross.

Their number included current Nick Ross Orchestra saxophonist Norman Brown.

Mr Ross said the music of the Big Band era – shaped by the likes of Glenn Miller, Count Basie and Tommy Dorsey – has stood the test of time because of its appeal to different age groups, .

He said: “Some people will have danced to Big Band music and will have their own memories, some will have listened to their parents and grandparents’ records and then you get kids who are learning an instrument.”

Mr Ross and his orchestra have toured the world, embassies and hotels in the Middle East, but it is theatres which he loves the most.

The Theatre Royal also has a special place in Mr Ross’ heart, as it was also the scene of his first professional show with his own band in the 1990s.

He added: “If you’re playing a theatre, people have bought a ticket and want to come and see you, as opposed to, perhaps, playing in a hotel where people are there anyway.”

Mr Ross said that there are about 400 arrangements in the orchestra’s repertoire, but added there is only room for 36 in one concert.

The Nick Ross Orchestra bring The Sounds of the Glenn Miller Era to the Theatre Royal Bury St Edmunds on February 15.Tickets are £8.50 to £26 and available from the box office on 01284 769505 or at