Ian’s got talent 

28/05/2014 00:00 
He’s used to leading a team at one of the NHS's most prestigious hospital trusts but now trombonist Ian Haig is achieving national acclaim with his band.

As part of the 20-piece London Gay Big Band he will take to the stage this week and perform for millions of television viewers – and judges Simon Cowell, Amanda Holden, David Walliams and Alesha Dixon – during the semi-finals of Britain’s Got Talent.

The band, alongside drag queen La Voix, were picked from thousands of hopefuls and performed to acclaim during the heats a fortnight ago. David Walliams described them as a ‘class act’ and their performance has been viewed by more than 200,000 people on YouTube.

The band – who are all volunteers – are now hoping to be picked from the 45 semi-finalists to reach the final, a week on Saturday.

Ian is divisional manager for UCLH’s Queen Square division. He said: “The reaction has been phenomenal. We’re getting a lot of gigs as a result of the show and it’s really boosted the profile of the band and what we stand for – which is what all gay groups stand for: the ability to perform freely as a gay group.”

Ian started playing the trombone 25 years ago and joined the London Gay Big Band two years ago. Professor Vince Walsh from the Institute of Cognitive Neuroscience at UCL, is also part of the band who specialise in big band jazz music, show tunes.

They have just returned from touring Cologne and will soon be travelling to Herrang, for the world’s biggest swing dance festival. Add to that gigs at the Hackney Empire, Charing Cross Theatre, Trafalgar Square at Pride London and the Royal Festival Hall and it’s easy to see why the band’s stock is rising fast.

Ian said: “By performing together, celebrating who we are and sharing this subculture, we’re sending a message of love and solidarity to those who don’t enjoy the same freedoms and equality as we do.

“In the workplace, evidence shows that people perform better when they can be open and honest about who they are. We hope we can encourage this, even just a little bit.”

He added: “I always say that running a hospital is like the show that never ends. I’m hoping I’ll be able to say the same about this incredible adventure after the show this week."

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