A BAND formed by a Hastings-born musician has been picked from over one thousand bands to support pop superstars McFly.
Virgin Soldiers was formed in the summer of 2009 by 25-year-old singer-guitarist-songwriter James Beeny. As an opening batsman for Hastings Priory and Sussex Second XI, he had planned a career as a professional cricketer but realised he had to follow his passion for music instead, and started the group.
First to reply to an advert placed by self-taught musician James, was Mike Parkin, a classically trained violinist from Hastings. The pair initially started gigging with a female singer, bass player and cellist.
In the meantime James worked as a freelance runner for various television companies to finance the band’s equipment and early recording sessions.
As their popularity grew, the duo realised they needed permanent fellow band members and Gina Georghiou from Battle came on board playing the keyboard and also singing.
The line-up for Virgin Soldiers became complete with bass player James Luke from Tonbridge, cellist Hannah Masson from Orpington and viola player Georgia Morrison from Bromley.
With male and female vocals, the six-piece band mixes contemporary with classical instruments producing a set that ranges from high energy songs to ballads, creating a sound that the band themselves call Strock.
The band hopes to repeat the success they achieved last year.
A busy 2011 saw the group appear in festivals right across the country including SkyFest and Lounge On The Farm.
They also released two EPs and received airplay on a number of radio shows, including BBC Introducing: The South.
Virgin Soldiers are due to release their debut single, Moon Song, later this year.
Speaking ahead of his performance at Leas Cliff Hall, Folkestone, on March 14, supporting McFly, James , who now lives in Hawkhurst, said he was ‘thrilled’ about winning the support slot for such a big name act.
He added: “It is a fantastic opportunity for the band and we are looking forward to the experience. I am sure we will all be very nervous on the day but we will do our best to make our families and supporters proud.”