Dateline September 2010

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‘Jumping Bean’ has heard a rumour that Light Music might feature as "Composer of the Week" on BBC Radio 3 next summer, possibly in June? Let’s hope the rumour is right! 

We are delighted to report that RFS member James Beyer is now feeling better following his recent health problems, and he is planning to be back on the podium for the Edinburgh Light Orchestra’s next concert on Saturday 6 November. As usual the venue is the Queen’s Hall in Clerk Street, and the box office opens on 13 September – telephone 0131 668 2019. We know that our members in the Edinburgh area look forward to these excellent concerts, and if anyone else is planning a visit to Scotland’s beautiful capital city later this year then you owe it to yourself to ensure that your stay includes Saturday 6 November! 

Philip Farlow has been sharing some more recollections with us, and his childhood experiences may well strike a familiar chord with some RFS members! Philip writes: How incredible that we have all lived throughout such a period of world changing music fashions. When the Robert Farnon [Appreciation] Society was founded in 1956 I was 11 (until November 1st). At first in 1951 my music was played on a wind-up gramophone but about 1954 it was fitted with an Emston pick-up and played into a Murphy A92 'Stationmaster' radio. By 1956 I was quite an experimenter and had devised methods of 'broadcasting' my records from another room via a long run of bell flex. About the same time I also had a small Dulci carbon microphone kit and via a volume control wired in a balance fashion used to announce my records to my (long suffering?) family. By the time I had left school in 1959, and via a Saturday job at Lovell's Dairy, Andover (Hampshire, England) a Dairy/Grocery & Provisions shop my sister managed, I had saved up enough pocket money to buy a BSR UA8 'Monarch' record changer. In some ways I was quite late into 45s EP's & LPs. My music continued to be played into the radio, but also at this time I was getting interested in tape recording and 'hi-fi' in its widest sense so shortly after I started down the road of separate amplifiers and speakers as well as starting tape recording in 1960. My very first machine was a Gramdeck. Those you could say were my formative years of amateur interests, later to be developed in all sorts of - and not least professional - fashion. Jumping Bean invites other members to share their experiences of early collecting and tape recording. 

It seems that John Wilson’s MGM triumph continues, this time with the backing of Classic FM. He's about to do tour later in the year and if you go to Classic FM's website, click on ‘events’ and the detail is there; click on ‘book tickets’ and there is a list of venues; it's also being "trailed" during the daily programmes. By the time this appears in print, this year’s John Wilson Prom devoted to Rodgers and Hammerstein will already have taken place, and we have learned that all tickets were sold within four hours. It was broadcast ‘live’ on BBC Radio 3, and recorded for television. Surely the BBC will not keep us waiting eleven months for the DVD this time? 

Forrest Patten reports that advertisers in America have been told to stop ignoring the over 50s. The main trade body which measures such things is saying that it is advertisers' continued focus on younger customers that's out of date, thanks to a massive and aging population of baby boomers as well as changes in consumers' lifestyle sparked by new technology. The next few decades may see a shift in how consumers spend, with younger Americans facing smaller salaries amid a tough economy and choosing to have smaller families. Meanwhile, the baby boomer generation will start to retire, with more money saved and the ability to spend more, the story goes. And while the TV market is aimed at viewers 49 and under, the average age of a prime-time broadcast viewer is almost 51. The big networks need to find a way to establish the relevance of older consumers if they want to continue to draw the manufacturers that support TV so heavily. In Britain it is becoming possible to guess which channel you are watching, simply by the kind of advertising carried. No one should fail to notice the difference between adverts on ITV2 and ITV3! 

Finally a report from RFS Canadian Representative, Pip Wedge:

On Thursday June 24th, over 250 devoted lovers of the music of Rob McConnell gathered at the Old Mill in Toronto to hear a Tribute to the music of this talented Canadian composer/arranger/musician, via a recreation of the Rob McConnell Tentet. Rob died in Toronto on May 1st 2010 (see Obituary in this issue). The original unit was founded in 1997, when the economics of getting gigs for Rob’s Boss Brass were becoming too daunting, and the smaller outfit was to be heard widely in Canada for more than ten years. Led by original Tentet trombonist Terry Promane, the reconstituted group included four other founder members – Alex Dean and Mike Murley (tenor Saxes), Steve McDade (trumpet) and Dave Restivo (piano). Because of conflicting engagements, Guido Basso (trumpet & flugelhorn), Terry Clarke (drums), Steve Wallace (bass) and P.J. Perry (alto sax) were unavailable, but other former Tentet alumni who stepped in most ably were Brian O’Kane, Barry Elmes, Pat Collins and John Johnson respectively, with Alastair Kay handling Rob’s own trombone book. It was an evening of joyous music and warm nostalgia. And at the end, after leader Terry Promane had wondered out loud whether this would be the last time these charts would be performed before a live audience, most of us were pretty damp-eyed as we heard the Tentet do what had become their standard closer: For All We Know (We May Never Meet Again). Rob McConnell was a creative, one of a kind Canadian musician. His legacy should live forever.

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