With the start of the pandemic in early 2020, all live wind-instrument playing stopped. By the end of the year, musicians were restless to find a place to play, so Karl Hermann and John Thompson started a group that used the Internet to allow people to play together, but from home. The musicians could hear and see each other online. The group was successful enough that it needed a name. What to call the Group? Big Bandemic—what else?
The online sessions were chaotic, especially because of the inherent delays in Internet technology. But the musicians persisted, and Big Bandemic held 18 sessions in the first half of 2021.
With the re-opening of the country in 2021, the band quickly moved to regular Monday evening sessions at the Lambeth Legion. The arrangement included physical distancing and masks when not playing. Big Bandemic has since held 23 two-hour rehearsals at the legion and has performed two free concerts.
The 17-piece big band grew out of necessity because of the pandemic, but we plan to play together for as long as the musicians enjoy the experience.