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Wednesday, June 29, 2011

The last resident seaside orchestra

I commented last week (or at least mentioned the fact) that BBC Radio 3 had a Light Music weekend.

I will admit that I was a bit sniffy. I'm not really certain why but I was.

Last Saturday I heard a bit of Music Matters when they were discussing why Light Music died out and they mentioned that there are still some albums available including soe on the Hyperion Label. I have to admit listening to the extracts was a real return to my childhood and trips to Harlow Town Park

Last Saturday I tuned into the Great Masters of Light Music concert. And you know what?

I thoroughly enjoyed it!

Oh I will admit it lacks the depth of the great masters of Classical Music but the likes of Mozart and Haydn understood the importance of a good tune and produced pieces that could be defined as Light Music. And anyway in the same way that sometimes Fish & Chips is preferable to haute cuisine sometimes you just want to tap your toes!

On the Sunday I listened to the Tea Dance concert they did which featured music that the bands like Ted Heath, Geraldo and Joe Loss played. Dad would have loved it!

And in this months bunch of purchases alongside the Elgar, some baroque pieces etc are some light albums - one is on now.

HOWEVER I am waffling what prompted this blog was the programme on the Scarborough Spa Orchestra - the last seaside orchestra!!

Years ago every seaside town had an orchestra. When Mum and Dad were just married(in the 50's), when you went on holidays you went to a town like Great Yarmouth, Torquay, Eastbourne, Clacton and yes Scarborough. You stayed in a guest house that chucked you out after breakfast and you were not expected to be back until your evening meal. Folks often didn't drive so the towns had to provide the entertainment. So lots of cafe's, amusement arcades, place to sit, pleasure gardens and there would be a bandstand where an orchestra would play the like of Ronald Binge and Eric Coates. My parents used to love listening.

The bandstands are still there but the resident summer season orchestras have long gone or so I thought, but the one at Scarborough still survives.

Every week during an extended summer season, the Spa Orchestra plays no fewer than nine concerts - mornings from Sunday to Thursday, and Sunday, Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday evenings. Every programme is different, and the Orchestra's repertoire is so vast that pieces are rarely repeated within five weeks.

Weather permitting, morning concerts are held in the idyllic setting of the Sun Court Enclosure, with the sea as the backdrop, and music on the lighter, brighter side. Evening performances are presented in the concert hall, with guest vocalists and specially themed gala concerts on Thursday evenings.

Now I am in Yorkshire soon and Scarborough has a church in the book I want to visit...... and yes you know what if the weather is nice I might sit and wallow in a touch of nostagia. I might buy a bag of chips and eat them on the sea front. Wonder if photos are allowed?


Tricia said...

Sun, sea, light music and a bag of chips... sounds idyllic to me :)

Ragged Robin said...

A nice nostalgic post Pete - I can remember bandstands in local parks and also, as you say, from hols when I was little.

Anonymous said...

What a treat that will be.