The Syd Lawrence Orchestra, Music in the Glenn Miller Mood, Fairfield Hall, Croydon - 1970 006
Page 8 and the rear inside cover of a programme for a performance of 'Music In The Glen Miller Mood' by the Syd Lawrence Orchestra, at Fairfield Hall, Croydon, 1970. A photograph of The Serenaders features on page 8. The rear inside cover profiles the careers of The Serenaders, and features a biography of Glenn Miller.
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So many Miller arrangements were enhanced by the Modernaires vocal group. It naturally follows that Syd Lawrence wanted to include this luxury vocal sound in all his concerts, so from within the orchestra he formed the Serenaders.
Kevin Kent, well experienced at group work, is joined here by pianist Brian Pendleton (also an experienced group singer) together with Syd (an ex-member of Cyril Stapleton s Staplejacks group) and trumpeter Don Banks (a singer in his own right). Leading the Serenaders on top voice is attractive Laura Lovelady, who when, incidentally, is not on stage, Is busy controlling the microphones for the soloists, etc.
From left to right: Don, Syd, Laura, Kevin and Brian.
He was born on March 1st, 1904 in Clarinda, Iowa and he started playing the trombone when he was twelve. In November 1925 he joined Ben Pollack's Orchestra and in 1928 he travelled with Ben Pollack to New York. There he remained, sent for Dorothy Helen Burger whom he had met at the University of Colorado, and married her on October 2nd 1928. For the next five years he freelanced and recorded until in 1935 Ray Noble, the British Band Leader arrived in New York, recognised Glenn Millerâs potential and put him in charge of setting up his Band
It was in 1935 that he made his first record with Columbia, with a pick-up Band. Whilst he was with Ray Noble he discovered what was later to become the famous sax sound. But it was not until 1939 when he played at the Glen Island Casino, New Rochelle, near New York that he finally found success. He is reputed to have said at that time that this engagement was the acid test and if he didn't make it he would open a garage in Colorado! He did make it and in 1940 he made 85 records, and grossed $10,000 a week. In 1941 he took on Billy Mav. Ray Anthony and Bobby Hackett. In April of that year he went to Hollywood to make a picture with Sonja Henie and two of his most famous numbers were born, Chattanooga Choo Choo and At Last, Chatanooga Choo Choo sold a million copies. He didn t like the film world, but returned to Hollywood a year later in 1942 to make another film with the leading stars of the day, and from this film came Serenade in Blue and Kalamaioo.
By this time, America was in the war. Glenn Miller had a programme called Sunset Serenade for the forces each week which
he financed himself to the tune of one thousand dollars per programme. However, he wanted to do more for the war effort and on October 7th, 1942 he joined up
He spent the first nine months doing a desk job in Omaha, organising Army Brass Bands, and then was able to talk the Army Airforce into letting him lead a very similar type of Band to his own He managed to find all his own boys who were also in the forces, and he very soon had forty-two musicians playing with him He started broadcasting a weekly propaganda type show called "I Sustain the Wingsâ. Miller wanted to bring his Band to Europe and when the Army Airforce authorities refused, he found a way around this difficulty by getting himself transferred to Europe under his real name of Alton G. Miller. He came to this country and very soon his Band came too. The day after D-Day his Band did a programme for the Allied Ex-peditionery Forces. After that it was a succession of broadcasts with an appearance at the oremiere of "Going My Way with Bing Crosby and after persuasion by the Band Leader Ted Heath, an appearance at the now demolished Stoll Theatre.
Miller decided to go to the Continent to play to the troops, again the request was refused, this time by the BBC with whom he had a contract for broadcasts. It was finally arranged to record these in advance and towards the end of November of that year he was ready to go to France It is here the mystery begins. He took off in a private single engined aircraft. It disappeared without trace.
In December 1945 he was officially declared dead and was posthumously awarded the Bronze Star.
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