Norman Warwick learns from Graham Marshall ROCHDALE LIGHT ORCHESTRA
presents a Jubilee Concert in a town of music
In his preview of a forthoming concert Graham Marshall alos offered us a potted history of the performers.
I founded The Rochdale amateur Light Orchestra in 2008 with the help of some enthusiastic local musicians. We wanted to get together on a regular basis to rehearse and perform music of a generally light-hearted nature from the mediæval to the present times. This we have done, with the obvious exception of lockdown and other necessary quiet times!
At present we have some twenty regular players augmented by a few others, who join us in time to take part in our two or three concerts a year. These are well attended, not only because we do not charge for admission and we provide light refreshments during the interval, but also because we appear to offer programmes which audiences find attractive and artistically rewarding. So they tell us. And they make generous contributions to our running costs on their way out.
These days we rehearse on Wednesday evenings from 7.30pm to 9.30pm in the parish church of St. Michael. Bamford at the junction of Bury and Rochdale Old Road and Queen’s Park Avenue, Heywood. We also perform there.
photo poster Our website- www.rochdalelightorchestra.org – gives you a list of music we’re rehearsing for a Jubilee Concert on October 5th. This includes a Fanfare and Anthem for the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee, words and music by one of our violinists, Peter Farnbank. It also includes a song by Rochdale guitarist and singer, Geoff Alexander, which celebrates the rich heritage of Rochdale and is entitled, “I’m Going Back To Rochdale”. These will give the audience a good opportunity to join in the singing after a short rehearsal.
The programme will contain some familiar music, too: Elgar’s Pomp and Circumstance March No. 1 (“Land of hope and glory”), Eric Coates’ Dam Busters March, to mention but just two.
Our motto – ‘making music from the heart’ says it all about our aim to please our audiences as much as we ourselves find pleasure in performing for them. Do come and join us. You will be very welcome, and I’m sure you will enjoy your musical evening with us.
Anyone who lives in Rochdale, or has visited the area, and certainly anyone who intends ´going back to Rochdale´ will know the plethora of pubs and clubs in the town centre where musicians muse, comics amuse, and poets pontificate and ukeleleists understand.
This is an area that incorporates the Toad Lane Lunchtome Concerts, Pegesus Poetry at The Flying Horse Inn, Rochdale Music Society classical and jazz performances at various venues around the Borough and you can find Music Between The Vines.
Rochdale is a town that holds a bridge from Gracie Fields to Lisa Stansfield.
In September 2016, a statue of the actress Dame Gracie Fields was unveiled in her home town of Rochdale.
A life-sized sculpture of the singer and entertainer was revealed in Town Hall Square before a large crowd.
It marked the end of a series of tributes to the star, including a heritage trail featuring blue plaques marking key locations in her life. She was lady, remember who once saw The Biggest Aspidistra In The World, who certainly climbed high after claiming
I’m the girl that makes the thing
that drills the hole
that holds the Ring
that drives the rod
that turns The knob
that works the thingummybob
I’m the girl that makes the thing
that holds the oil
that oils the Ring
that takes the shank
that moves the crank
that works the thingummybob
Fields was believed to be the most highly paid actress in the world in the 1930s.
Sebastian Lassandro, who runs the Gracie Fields Appreciation Society’s website, said: “It’s finally time for Rochdale to have its own tribute to Gracie Fields. It’s long overdue.”
Born in 1898, she made her first stage appearance in 1905 and went on to become a popular star of London’s West End.
Her travelling performances for troops during World War Two led her to become known as “a forces’ sweetheart”, a title more commonly associated with Dame Vera Lynn.
She eventually retired to Capri in Italy, but never forgot her Rochdale roots and made frequent trips home to perform.
Fields was made a dame in 1979 a few months before her death aged 81.
Another female vocalist, from the same area, has also been all around the world on account of her talent.
Lisa Jane Stansfield (born 11 April 1966) is an English singer, songwriter, and actress. Her career began in 1980 when she won the singing competition Search for a Star. After appearances in various television shows and releasing her first singles, Stansfield, along with Ian Devaney and Andy Morris, formed Blue Zone in 1986. The band released several singles and one album, but after the success of Coldcut‘s “People Hold On” in 1989, on which Stansfield was featured, the focus was placed on her solo career.
Stansfield’s first solo album Affection (1989) and its worldwide chart-topping lead single “All Around The World” were major breakthroughs in her career. She was nominated for two Grammy Awards, and Affection is her best-selling album to date. In the following years, Stansfield released Real Love (1991), So Natural (1993), and Lisa Stansfield (1997). In 1999 she appeared in her first film, Swing, and also recorded the soundtrack for it. Her next albums included Face Up (2001), Biography: The Greatest Hits (2003), and The Moment (2004). Thereafter, Stansfield took a break from music and focused on her film career. In 2008, she starred in The Edge of Love and in 2014 she appeared in Northern Soul.
Stansfield released her seventh album Seven on 31 January 2014. Its lead single “Can’t Dance” was digitally released on 16 October 2013. She promoted the album with the European Seven Tour in 2013 and 2014. Her most recent album Deeper was released on 6 April 2018. In June 2018, following a string of sold-out tour dates in Europe, Stansfield announced her North American Tour, which began in October 2018.
Stansfield has won numerous awards, including three Brit Awards, two Ivor Novello Awards, a Billboard Music Award, World Music Award, ASCAP Award, Women’s World Award, Silver Clef Award and two DMC Awards. She has sold over 20 million albums worldwide, including five million of Affection. In December 2016, Billboard magazine ranked her as the 46th-most-successful dance artist of all time
That all makes Rochdale a more than appropriate town in which to hold such a wonderful Jubilee Concert as will be delivered by The Rochdale Light Orchestra, in what looks like a perfect setting, as show on our cover picture and at the top of this article.