The Melbourne Karaoke Big Band: A Symphony of Karaoke and Big Band Fusion

Published November 27, 2023

Imagine stepping up to the mic at your local pub, not just to sing karaoke but to be backed by the impressive wall of sound that only a 20-piece big band can provide. That's exactly the experience the Melbourne Karaoke Big Band offers, turning an average Sunday outing into a grand performance for anyone brave enough to take the stage.

A Surprising Sunday

For Maria Pilar Leon, a simple Sunday at a Brunswick pub with her friends quickly transformed into a spotlight moment when she decided to sing Amy Winehouse's Rehab assisted by the band's full ensemble. This accidental performer found the rare combination of an open mic and live big band an exhilarating experience.

Planning to Perform

James Coomans, another attendee, came prepared. Knowing the band's song list in advance, he chose to sing Uptown Funk by Bruno Mars. Despite initial nerves, the thrill of performing with the band made it an unforgettable moment.

The Initial Hesitation

It's common for patrons to feel a bit intimidated at first by the large band setup, which includes saxophones, trumpets, trombones, keyboards, guitars, a bass, drums, and vocalists. The prospect of singing with such professional backing takes a nudge or two, which the band's drummer and MC, Matt Broadbent, is well-equipped to provide.

From Birthday Party to Pub Stage

The origins of this unique musical arrangement began with a birthday celebration planned by Broadbent and his friend Dave Palmer. The success of incorporating karaoke and a big band inspired them to bring the concept to a wider audience, starting with Melbourne's vibrant pub scene.

Supporting Talent and Having Fun

The band mainly consists of high school students and recent graduates, providing them with rare performance opportunities. For 17-year-old bass player Damien Reynolds, the experience has been both educational and thrilling. The band encourages singers of all skill levels, with professional backing vocalists like Belinda Parsons and her former student Sian Hulland ready to lend support.

Looking to the Future

Seeing the band's potential, Parsons envisions more gigs on the horizon, particularly in corporate events. However, the dream gig would be to play at Federation Square, bringing their unique blend of karaoke and live big band music to the heart of Melbourne on a bustling Sunday.

culture, music, live