When an audience take their seats at a Chris Barber concert, the stage is set with speakers, mikes, amplifiers, instruments, etc. It also looks tidy and neat. This preparation takes time and hard work, and Bas and Barry are the two members of the band -- who are often not noticed by the audience -- who do all this work.
Bas Meijer Barry Walker
Bas and Barry with Mike Henry, April 2008
Barry Walker
Barry joined the band some ten years ago, on the recommendation of the previous sound technician, Tom Blackband. Barry started his working life as an antique restorer, leading to restoring musical instruments, then to working with sound engineers. This he did for some eight years prior to joining the band. His main role is to mix the stage sound for the audience. Mixing sound for a front line of seven musicians, three of whom are reed players who may play two or even three instruments in one number, is not easy!

This was a sad day for all friends of the Big Chris Barber Band:  We had sadly to announce that Barry Walker, longtime sound engineer of the Big Chris Barber Band, passed away on June 30, after a long and painful illness. RIP Barry - we all miss you!
You will find the obituaries and slideshow pages here
Bas Meijer
Bas is the lighting engineer (and runs the CD shop at concerts). He is Dutch, speaks German, English, and - of course - Dutch and was, before joining the Big Chris Barber Band, for more than four and a half years the sound engineer of the Dutch Swing College Band.
Their Day
Barry and Bas are usually the first to leave whichever hotel they stayed at overnight, as they need to arrive at the next venue at least three or four hours prior to the performance. They will first (if it is somewhere the band have not played before) check out the facilities on stage, and learn what facilities are available (many modern concert halls have for example a complete sound system). This means that they may not need to use any of the band's own speakers, although they normally use their own sound desk. An exception may be at a jazz festival, where they can often use the venue's own equipment. They then set up the stage and ensure all microphones and amplifiers are working, and the sound levels seem good. Once the band all arrive, there is a sound check, with the band playing through one or two numbers so that Barry can make final adjustments, while Bas ensures that the lighting is just right. During the performance Barry will be seated at his desk both monitoring and adjusting the sound, depending on the music being played, while Bas will add to the effect by clever use of the lighting available, often sitting next to Barry at the lighting console (but more often in the theatre control room, hidden away).

Once the concert concludes, Bas and Barry will 'take down' the stage, repack all the gear and instruments back in the vans, and drive back to that day's hotel. It is usually a long and tiring day for both of them. The next day they are off again to the next stop. If they are lucky, the band will sometimes play in the same venue for two days. This is a real bonus.
(Text by Julian Purser; Photos by Andreas Wandfluh)
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