Force 10 is a 17-piece big band playing music from swing, dance and b-bop to modern jazz, TV and show themes. Resident at The Warren in Hayes the band is invited annually to Jazz on the Pantiles, Rye Wipers Weekends, and regularly plays for the [Len] Goodman Dance Academy, and at festivals and events around Kent.
The genesis of the band was at Coopers School, Bromley, in 1976 when music teacher Ken Lack started a school big band, rare at the time, known initially as Class 54. As the pupils graduated they wanted to continue playing together so it transformed itself into an evening class based at the school. Current longest-serving member Lester Barnes joined on tenor sax at age 13 in 1982. David Barnes joined as a temporary leader of the band in 1983. James Kirkby joined soon afterwards. Other current players qualifying for long service medals include Mike Pack and Dylan Barnes. The band renamed itself Force 10 in the mid-1980s and re-located to the Bull Hotel in Chislehurst for many years, before moving to its present base at the Warren in Hayes.
The band now consists of a healthy mix of professional, semi-professional and top-class amateur musicians. Their common purpose is to play great big band music to the highest possible standard, and have plenty of fun along the way, which they aim to transmit to the audience at every gig they do.
The band meets weekly to rehearse, and, notwithstanding the musicians’ multifarious other commitments, plays at public and private events near and around Kent throughout the year.
Over the years, Force 10 has amassed a huge variety of music, encompassing many different styles of big band writing. However, the tunes most requested by audiences are the classics by Glenn Miller, Count Basie, Benny Goodman, Stan Kenton, Ted Heath etc., as well as songs made famous by legends such as Bobby Darin, Dean Martin, Tony Bennett, Ella Fitzgerald, and of course… Frank Sinatra.