About Us

I grew up around swing and big band music. My Grandparents lived in the basement of our house for much of my childhood and with Grandma being a Musical Theatre singer and actress, and Grandad being heavily into the great big band leaders like Glen Miller and Ted Heath, I formed a strong affinity with the style. It was almost a foregone conclusion that I would be a performer of some sort. Having started on keyboard, Grandad bought me my first trumpet when I was ten years old and it all started from there.

Fast forward to 2017 and I decided, for a whole host of reasons, to become a lead singer. My Dad always instilled in me that you can do anything you put your mind to if you’re willing to put in the work, and I did exactly that, going to singing lessons and starting to perform after under my own name. I released my debut album in 2018 and, having had a taste of performing in theatresas part of The South, I started to develop the idea that has now become The Story of Swing.

Like everybody working in performing arts, the Covid-19 pandemic was a struggle in lots of ways, and massively delayed the launch of the new show. On the other hand, it meant I had the time to immerse myself in the music of the singers I idolised. I watched and listened to countless hours of Frank Sinatra, Tony Bennett, Michael Buble, Jamie Cullum, Gregory Porter, Bobby Darin & Harry Connick. All this learning time inspired me to put together an outstanding show telling the narrative of such a timeless, universally loved genre.

In March 2022, that dream became a reality with the help of Miles Hancock and Jazz Colossus, as we did our debut show at the Deco Theatre in Northampton. This show was filmed and meant we could officially launch online and start to build a brand and a profile.

The next year saw us do the occasional show in my hometown of Leicester, while I tried to grow the profile of the show and push it forward by booking shows myself, which was really difficult. We underwent some changes in personnel with Benjamin coming in as Musical Director, and we could both see the huge potential of the show.

I first saw Producer, Darren Bazzoni, in his element, playing drums in a theatre show at Kilworth House Theatre, and I remember him looking like somebody who loved what they were doing. We then became Facebook friends and it turned out we know a lot of the same people. After a few interactions online, I called him up and it was like talking to somebody I’d known for years. From that phone call alone, I learned so much about the theatre world. As we were all recovering from the pandemic, it was the perfect time to talk about a new partnerships, and the journey began. Darren came to see the show at The Century Theatre and chatting in the bar afterwards, it became clear to me that we were kindred spirits, and that 4Theatre are the perfect company to work with in taking this forward.

The biggest difference has been the step up in the size and calibre of venues, right from the opening night at Aberdeen Music Hall. Bournemouth Pavilion Theatre, O2 City Hall in Newcastle, Royal Concert Hall Glasgow are just a snapshot of the many amazing auditoriums that we’ll be gracing, and I feel so unbelievably lucky to be on those stages.

Increasing the production value to the standard of these theatres has certainly been a steep learning curve and the biggest lesson for me has been that you can’t do it alone. It’s so important to have the infrastructure around you as an artist, to help the show achieve its full potential and with Benjamin in place as Musical Director, the whole digital content operation we’ve got in place, and the production/business input from 4Theatre, I feel like we are built for the future.

Gareth John

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