Dateline June 2003
■ Belated congratulations to Don Lusher, who was made an OBE in the New Year Honours. The Editor congratulated DON LUSHER on his OBE, on behalf of Robert Farnon and all RFS members. This is his reply:
Dear David & members of the Robert Farnon Society,
Thank you very much for your congratulatory message on my being awarded the OBE. I am very proud to have received it and especially "for services to the music industry" and not just for being a trombone player or a bandleader. For fifty-five years I have been very happy and privileged to work in the music business and I trust that during that time I have made some contribution to it. Diana has pointed out that's seventy-three years practising the trombone and still only on Book Two Tune a Day! When I received the news in November, Diana explained to me just how many people had worked hard in presenting their request for me to have an award. This started, I believe, in late 1996! After the New Year's Honours List came out, we learnt that many other people had also been trying. I am very grateful to all those people without whom I would not have been awarded anything! Often one receives an award on retirement, now this, I hope, is not so in my case. I do hope to go on working in my various capacities for some time to come. It is always a tremendous privilege to work for Bob. DON LUSHER, Cheam, ENGLAND.
■ Ken Wilkins sent us a cutting from his local paper, the Leamington Courier, which reported the death of Mrs. Winifred German, who was married to Arthur German, nephew of the famous composerSir Edward German. Arthur had inherited his uncle’s original scores including the light operasMerrie England and Tom Jones. Following her husband’s death, Winifred continued to actively promote Sir Edward’s music. She died in February aged 90, and had always been very active in local music circles.
■ Johnny McLain tells us that Bardic Edition has recently published his Psalm – Johnny’s setting ofThe Lord is my Shepherd. It started life as a tribute to the late Anthony Fones (1919-1997), the renowned BBC arranger, who became a close friend of Johnny towards the end of his life.
■ The world of ballet has discovered Light Music! On 8 & 9 July the English National Ballet will be including a new work Melody on the Move in its season at Sadler’s Wells. As well as the famous Clive Richardson piece of the same name, this new work by Michael Corder will include Robert Farnon’s Peanut Polka and Eric Coates’ Knightsbridge March. This work will also be included as part of the Autumn Tour. Sadler’s Wells box office: 020 7863 8000.
■ In this issue’s ‘Keeping Track’ we review a new CD of Bob Hope recordings, in tribute to his 100thbirthday on 29 May. If he had lived, Bob’s long-time friend and comedy partner in many films Bing Crosby would also have celebrated his centenary a few weeks earlier – on 3 May. In Tune magazine (May issue) included an interesting article by Ken Barnes who worked closely with Bing in the 1970s.
■ At long last it seems as though our dream of a new Charles Williams CD will soon become reality. The recording sessions took place last February, and we hope to have some firm news regarding a release date in our next issue.
■ Ray Clark recommends a recent addition to the ‘Yesterday’s Britain’ video series. YB29 features five films relating to the building of London’s Victoria Line, on which work began in the autumn of 1962. UK readers can get this video for £12.95 from The Signal Box, 1 Albion Street, Anstey, Leics, LE7 7DD. Ray also informs us that there is a society dedicated to the memory of the 1951 Festival of Britain. For details write to: The Membership Secretary, FoB Society, 23 Langton Avenue, East Ham, London, E6 6AN.
■ Alan Bunting had a message from a friend in Sweden advising him that the Robert FarnonNaxos CD filled 25 minutes on their Music Channel on 10 March.
■ Mark Fox (of the International Tony Bennett Appreciation Society) informs us that Tony will be appearing on 29 June at the Symphony Hall in Birmingham; 3 & 4 July at The Royal Albert Hall, London; 6 July at George Square in Glasgow; and 7 July at the Bridgewater Hall in Manchester.
■ Brian Neale was planning to come to our recent London meeting, but the Queen asked him to sing for her at Windsor Castle instead. Brian often sings in the chapel at Windsor, and the Queen obviously didn’t realise that the RFS was meeting on the same day!
■ The name Associated-Rediffusion will conjure up pleasant memories for many British readers. Ex-BBC producer Graham Pass is now working with them on television musical documentaries, and you are encouraged to keep an eye on Radio Times in the coming months for a feature on Artie Shaw – possibly on BBC Four.
■ Alan Bunting was recently involved in the BBC Television programme "Cash In The Attic". A film crew visited Alan at his home in Stirling where he was transferring some old 78s to a CD for an elderly lady who wanted to hear them again. We don’t know if the programme will have been seen by the time you read this issue, but this series has been repeated in the past so it may be worth checking Radio Times.
■ Robin King is interested in the pianist Dick Katz who was a member of the Ray Ellington Quartet back in the 1950s. There was a Nixa LP "Kool for Katz" in 1959, but Robin has been unable to discover much more about his career. If any readers can tell us more about Dick Katz, please contact the Editor.
■ John Wilson was featured on the cover of the April/May issue of Crescendo & Jazz Music. Colour photos inside pictured John rehearsing with his orchestra at the Royal College of Music for the RFH concert on 22 March. All the musicians were mentioned by name, which is a very nice touch.
■ Eric White presented an excellent tribute to Ron Goodwin on BBC Radio Norfolk, which was broadcast on Easter Monday, 21 April. His special guest was Cy Payne, who received a lot of encouragement and practical help from Ron during the formative years of his own career.
■ Forrest Patten in April placed "Holiday Spirit" by Clive Richardson for a Hershey’s Kisses national TV spot in the USA. Perhaps some of our American readers noticed it.