Dateline September 2003
■ Just as our last issue was reaching our members, British Pathe became part of the ITN Archive. This meant that the information on the centre pages of JIM 155 regarding the film "This is London" no longer applied, and we are sorry that some of you were disappointed at being unable to obtain this film. Hopefully the situation will eventually be clarified, so that the vast British Pathe archive will become available to private individuals once again. If you are on the internet, we suggest you visitwww.itnarchive.com for the latest news.
■ It’s good to know that Ronald Corp is planning a possible 5th volume of British Light Music Classicsfor Hyperion. No more details at present, except that one of the titles could be Ray Martin’s "Waltzing Bugle Boy".
■ The Edinburgh Light Orchestra Conducted by James Beyer will be giving its next concert at The Queen’s Hall, Edinburgh, on Saturday 8 November. A recent concert on 24 May opened (as usual) with Robert Farnon’s Journey Into Melody, followed by the works of Duke Ellington, Victor Schertzinger, Fred Hartley, Frederick Loewe, Howard Shore and many others. These concerts are always very popular, and you are advised to book early (telephone 0131 668 2019). The Edinburgh Palm Court Orchestra Directed by David Lyle continues with its Sunday afternoon concerts, the next one on 28 September. To get on the mailing list for the ELO, send your name and address to: James Beyer, 4 St John’s Gardens, Edinburgh, EH12 6NT.
■ Peter Appleyard celebrated his 75th birthday in August (reports Norman Leisk). He told the Toronto Star: "I’m 75 with the body of a 74-year old and the mind of a 20 year-old!" He’s known in his adopted country, Canada, as the ‘affable vibraphone swing king’, and he was one of the guests at the 1997 Ottawa concerts in honour of Robert Farnon’s 80th birthday. Peter still hopes that he can soon finalise arrangements for the sessions to record the charts which Robert Farnon prepared for him a little while ago. Around 30 musicians will be required, which involves a considerable financial commitment.
■ Ron Shillingford reports that everything went well at the Memorial Service to Ron Goodwin at Douai Abbey on 24 June. "Ron arranged splendid weather for the occasion. Douai Abbey is a beautiful place and was a wonderful setting" says Ron.
■ Brian Kay’s Light Programme is moving from Sundays to Thursdays on BBC Radio 3. The final Sunday edition will be on 14 September at 4.00pm as usual, to be followed by the next Brian Kay’s Light Programme on Thursday 18 September – also at 4.00pm. Brian’s new Sunday afternoon programme at 4.00pm is to be called "3 for all" and will run for an hour and three quarters every week. We are sure that he will be happy to get requests from his previously loyal Sunday listeners, so if you would like to have a special piece of music played you should write to Brian at: BBC Wales, Cardiff, CF5 2YQ, or send an e-mail to: Brian is still presenting Melodies for You on Radio 2 on Sunday evenings at 7.00 pm until Christmas, and hopefully beyond (subject to the new BBC Radio-2 Controller!).
■ Make sure that you don’t miss The Last Night of the Proms on Saturday 13 September. John Wilson is involved in arranging some of the music that will be performed by the BBC Symphony Orchestra.
■ Bob Hope died from pneumonia on Sunday 27 July aged 100 at his home in Toluca Lake, Los Angeles, California. In a long and distinguished career, the London-born comedian became one of the most famous entertainers in the world, and his death received massive coverage around the globe. It was said that the filing cabinets at his home on North Hollywood contained more than seven million gags. In 1962 his career crossed paths with Robert Farnon when the final ‘Road’ movie "The Road to Hong Kong" was filmed in Britain. Farnon was musical director, and Hope and Crosby’s co-star was Joan Collins, with a guest appearance from the original member of the trio, Dorothy Lamour. A soundtrack album featured original recordings from the film, augmented with ‘overdubs’ in the studio to improve the general sound quality. Bob Hope’s most famous record was "Thanks for the Memory" with Shirley Ross, which was featured in his first Hollywood film "The Big Broadcast of 1938". He was awarded an honorary knighthood in 1998 (although British-born, he became an American citizen).
■ Trevor Duncan has been invited to be the Guest of Honour at the RFS London meeting next April (2004), and we are very hopeful that he will be able to attend. There has been a resurgence of public interest in Trevor’s music in recent years, which has been reinforced by the recent New Concert Orchestra CD on Vocalion. We know that his numerous friends and admirers in the Robert Farnon Society would be delighted to meet him next April.
■ John Wilson will be conducting at Symphony Hall in Birmingham on Friday 31 October, together with Gary Williams in the "Legends of Sinatra" show. Compere will be David Jacobs. (Thanks to Pat and John Hicks for this advance information).
■ Weinzweig is honoured at last [reports Pip Wedge]. John Weinzweig, the Dean of Canadian composers, about whom I wrote in JIM 155, was honoured in the year of his ninetieth birthday with a concert at the National Arts Centre on July 22nd. John attended the concert, to hear the Vancouver Symphony Orchestra under Bramwell Tovey play several of John’s favourite pieces, including Aaron Copeland’s Appalachian Spring and the Pulcinella Suite by Stravinsky. The programme also included John’s own Divertimento for Flute and Strings, which won a silver medal at the Olympic Games in London in 1948 (yes, they gave medals for Arts, too, in those days).
■ Who are the keenest visitors to the RFS website? Recent statistics reveal that the top ten countries (in order) are: United Kingdom, United States, Australia, Canada, Japan, The Netherlands, Germany, France, Brazil and New Zealand. 35.3% were from the UK, 26.7% from USA and 0.8% from New Zealand!
■ Charles Job and the Palm Court Orchestra have two concerts pending in British Columbia, Canada, next November, called "Love’s Old Sweet Song" and featuring Kenneth Lavigne, tenor. The dates are: Friday 7 November at 8.00pm Cowichan Theatre, Duncan; and Saturday 8 November at 8.00pm UVic Centre, Victoria, BC. The concerts will feature Edwardian/ Victorian parlour songs such as Because, Macushla and Brown Bird Singing while the orchestra will be playing selections from Ivor Novello’s The Dancing Years plus selections by Ketelbey, Curzon, Alford and Finck. For tickets telephone 250 748-9964.
■ John Rapson conducted Symphony New Brunswick (Canada) on 5 August in performances ofRobert Farnon’s Jumping Bean and Westminster Waltz. Other light music in the same concert included Beachcomber (Clive Richardson), Cumberland Square (Ernest Tomlinson) and March of the Bowmen (Frederic Curzon).
■ We have learned the sad news that Geraldo’s widow, Mrs. Manja Geraldo Lee died at the beginning of July. Music lovers have reason to be very grateful to her for the way in which she kept Geraldo’s music alive. She was also a very generous benefactor in support of performances of the kind of music we all enjoy, and we know that she will be greatly missed by all who came into contact with her.
■ We hope that our British members with access to digital television keep an eye on the schedules for BBC Four. This fairly new TV channel broadcasts some important music programmes, and in July they screened an excellent tribute to Artie Shaw which was largely the work of Russell Davies and former Radio-2 producer Graham Pass. The same team are in the early stages of a similar project involving Robert Farnon.
■ Several RFS members were in the audience for English National Ballet’s "Melody on the Move" in July (see JIM 155 page 95). The attraction was the choice of Light Music, which included the famous Clive Richardson piece which gave the ballet its title, plus Robert Farnon’s Peanut Polka, Trevor Duncan’s Girl from Corsica and High Heels, and Eric Coates’ Knightsbridge March, among others. The press reviews were generally favourable, and it would be nice if this new work became a regular part of the ENB’s repertoire.
■ Judging by some trade publicity we have seen recently, there is already talk of the demise of the CD as we know it. But don’t despair – its place is likely to be taken by DVD. Originally intended mainly as a successor to VHS Video, DVD is now seen as the natural replacement for all existing music and video formats, plus video games and computer information systems. Already DVD has become the most successful consumer electronics product of all time.
■ Not all musicians achieve international fame, but during their lifetime they often give a great deal a pleasure to many people. Such a person was Harold Balaam, a cousin of RFS member John Swinyard who recently told us about him. Harold was born on 14 February 1914, and he learned to play the cinema organ at the Gaumont, Plymouth where he met Fredric Bayco. In 1934 he became Bayco’s assistant at the Dominion, Tottenham Court Road, and played at most of the Gaumont cinemas around London. In 1937 he moved to the Gaumont Palace, Exeter, from where he used to broadcast on the BBC West Region. In World War 2 he served in the Royal Marines, and later in 1953 he was asked by Lt. Col. Vivian Dunn to provide mainly Latin-American music on the Royal Yacht Britannia. Harold died on 9 December 2002.
■ Friday Night is Music Night was first broadcast on 25 September 1953, and the BBC is planning a suitable celebration for its 50th Anniversary. Nothing more was known as we went to press, so we can only advise British members to check the details later this month in Radio Times.
■ Our friends in the International Ray Conniff Fan Club have published what can only be described as a most impressive tribute to Ray Conniff, who died on 12 October 2002 aged 85. ‘S Always Conniffis a Special Memorial Edition of the Club’s Newsletter, with full colour printing on glossy paper covering 68 A4 pages, which features numerous tributes from friends and members, and reports of his passing in various publications around the world. The compilation must have been a mammoth task, and it is a credit to everyone who was involved with it. Our own Secretary’s message to Manfred Thönicke is included on page 59.
■ Catherine Ford is archiving the papers of composer Barry Gray (real name Jack Eccles) who wrote the music for Thunderbirds and all those other Gerry Anderson TV puppet shows. Barry did some lyrics for the film "The Noose", which has a music score by Charles Williams.