Colonel Spanky's Love Ensemble

Anna-Maria playing bass at a Cambridge May Ball Matt playing saxophone at a live gig Zoe holding the Colonel Spanky's logo on a drum skin Noah playing guitar on stage

About Us

If you think the best thing to come out of Cambridge is 107 Nobel Prize winners, you've clearly never seen Colonel Spanky's Love Ensemble. Formed in 2009, the brainchild of the city's ten finest funk-mongers came to life within the hallowed halls of Clare College, Cambridge, when a group of undergrads spotted their mutual appreciation for bombastic Riot Jazz and the infectious rhythms of New Orleans Brass bands. Having spent their first years making a name for themselves at gigs in the private student bars and lavish society balls, they have come to form an integral part of the music scene that bridges the town/gown divide in the country's academic capital.

With memorably high energy cover performances that span genres as diverse as pop, rap, jazz, funk and ska, the Love Ensemble have appeared on stages alongside the likes of Tinie Tempah, Basshunter, Laura Mvula and Gentleman's Dub Club.

Specialising in knees-up dancing, sing-alongs, raucous rapping and sexy saxophone solos, the Love Ensemble will twist anything from 80s pop to smooth soul into the unique Colonel Spanky's sound.

What We Do

We've played at hundreds of events, including...

The bride and groom singing at one of our wedding gigs in Norfolk


Church weddings, marquee weddings, festival weddings, we love 'em all!

A bop at Clare College, c.2013


Cambridge colleges are renowned for their student socials, known as "bops".

Masked ball-goers

May Balls

A typical "May Week" (usually in June) will see us play up to 25 gigs in one week!

A club night

Club Nights

There's nothing like the sweaty thrill of live music to bring a night out to another level!

Hands pumping in front of a festival stage


The roar of the crowd under the stars...need we say more?

3 women clinking glasses at a Christmas party

Work Socials

The perfect way to let off some steam with your colleagues!

Line Up

We're a 9-piece band, comprising:

1 x Trombone

Nick Wise

2 x Alto Sax

Alice Durand and Fingal Plumpton

1 x Trumpet

Tom Edinburgh

1 x Tenor Sax

Milo Flynn

1 x Vocals

Zoe Starling

1 x Electric Guitar

Noah Turner

1 x Bass Guitar

Anna-Maria Woodrow

1 x Drums

Jo Humphrey

How to Book Us


Pick a date and time

Check your calendar and figure out how a band is going to fit in at your event.


Decide the set length

We can play for up to 2 hours. This can split up however you like, e.g. 2 x 1 hour.


Contact Us

Email us at!

Song List


The band posing for a photo at Peterhouse May Ball


We operate best as a 10-piece, and as such we never deliberately "shrink" the band. However, there are occasions when we do not have full duplication of horn players due to absences, and in those circumstances we can perform with fewer people. We never perform with less than 7 players though!


St. John's College May Ball is allegedly the 7th best party in the world...and we've played at it every single year for the past 7 years!

Spanky's playing on the main stage at St. John's May Ball
The band's drum kit


We need at least 30 minutes to set up, but we usually try to leave at least an hour to allow for last minute changes.


Yes! We can provide everything we need for performing (amps, microphones, lighting, PA, drum kit), though we may need to charge extra for transportation of the gear and occasional hire fees.

Spanky's playing at The Bullingdon, Oxford
Spanky's posing in 2023


Cambridge Corn Exchange, almost every single Cambridge college's May Ball, Relevant Records (Cambridge), The Blue Moon (Cambridge) Knebworth House (Stevenage), Cambridge Pride, Strawberry Fair, Strawberries & Creem Festival, Ace Hotel London, Cambridge Junction, Henley Rowing Museum, De Vere Grand Connaught Rooms (London), Anstey Hall Hotel (Trumpington), + hundreds of others!


What people have said about us...

“I loved your set and it went down really well!”


Greg Butler - Pigs Big Ballroom, Camp Bestival

‘Spank my Colonel's lovely ensemble, you were amazing!’


Mark Littlewood - CEO, Business Leaders Network

"That set really was perfect for getting the entire park singing along!"


Rob Ferguson -Stage Manager, Cambridge Pride 2019