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© Ray Chester Big Band 2007
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New CD  released March 09.....
sound tracks can be heard here
MillView Social club March 26th 2010 all proceeds to St Bendict's Hospice.......... review of gig here

people wishing to leave a tribute for Ray can do so by e-mailing........ here

Tribute page is....    here

Ray's funeral took place on 1st February 2013

Rays popularity and quirks were highlighted in a magnificent tribute at a packed Crematorium in Sunderland.
All the seats were taken which meant the remaining people had to squash themselves in at the rear of the hall.
At times amusing, I can imagine Ray chuckling in the background at some of the comments that were forthcoming during the service. Poems and fond memories were amongst some of the warmest and uplifting thoughts ever heard at such a service.
Colin Haikney(piano) and Graham Hardy (trumpet) played a superb rendition of Ray's signature tune "Whats New".....the throngs of people immediately bursting into rapturous applause at the close. A track from Ray's CD recorded at the Alexandria pub in 2004 highlighted the magnificence of the band and Rays own arrangement of "The folks who live on the hill" beautifully sung by Mia Webb......I noticed a few people reaching for the tissues as it concluded. To the strains of "Gabriel's Oboe" the curtains closed and the coffin disappeared from view...........FAREWELL.
As a former dep for the band, myself and thousands of others whom have had the opportunity not only to play Ray's arrangements but were graced by his company....... WE CAN ONLY SAY THE MUSIC BUSINESS HAS LOST A doubt he will scribbling away writing new arrangements as this is being written..........I can only say you're in for a treat up there.....just remember not to leave your cases lying around as Ray is bound to trip over it !!!!

 It is with sadness that the representatives of the band and Ray's family gave the news that the concert on the 23rd of June 2013 at the Customs House will be the last ever concert by the

If you didn't already know, the band was one of the longest surviving bands in Britain with only one of the band's original players still left playing....
a tribute to his consistency and musicianship....
lead trombonist Don Fairley.
Throughout the years the band has seen a tremendous amount of players in Ray's line up.....not through necessary changes in personnel but deps needed now and again to cover.
I am sure Ray himself would like to say thank you to all those have helped to promote his band and in turn, have gained tremendous enjoyment from playing those special and magical arrangements.

The legacy of Ray having blessed so many lives and musician's will continue.
The band's phenomenal  library was donated to the Sage (Gateshead) to be used for projects for the arts structure of the Sage and North East in general.
Many up and coming musicians are going to be extremely lucky to play some of the best arrangements ever by one of the country's top arrangers