Salvo Big Band jazz up Teddy Bears' Picnic

The Salvo Big Band’s second year performing at Melbourne’s Rippon Lea Teddy Bears’ Picnic has firmed up Bandmaster Brian Hogg’s conviction that their presence offers more than just entertainment.

Bringing their swinging tunes to the 27th Rippon Lea Teddy Bears’ Picnic last month, the event established the need for a holistic approach to their performances.

“Next year I would like to have a group of people who come and talk to the audience while they’re listening – a team of people who make that interface between what we do and the audience, so they share something of our faith,” says Brian.

The Salvo Big Band gives locals a taste of what the Army has to offer musically, with the hope that it also encourages them to engage with the services and mission of the Army.

“It’s good for the Salvos to have a presence. We always have comments from people about the music presentation,” said Salvo Big Band Master Brian Hogg. “We love it. The Teddy Bears’ Picnic is a great, fun gig to do.”

Held at Rippon Lea House & Gardens in Elsternwick, the Big Band raised funds for the National Trust, one of Australia’s leading conservation organisations. The annual event welcomes families from around the city to a fun day of picnic food, entertainment, games and fun.

The Salvos joined numerous community groups in supporting the event, this year including the Melbourne Football Club.

The band played four sets, which included songs by Duke Ellington and Count Basie and hymns infused with their big band jazz style. They also accompanied the iconic Teddy Bear Parade with a Latin rendition of ‘Teddy Bears Picnic’ and handed out KidZone magazine.