From Pat Husband - ( wife of flautist and arranger, Peter Husband )
My lovely Peter’s relationship with Bernhard Herrmann began in the National Youth Orchestra with Ruth Railton, in which Pete was playing percussion and Bernhard was on flute. Later, Peter had taught himself flute in order to be able to take up the only vacant position in the Royal Artillery Band, but when Bernhard moved from being flautist with the NVO to musical director of the NDO Pete joined the band on flute and the two of them were together again. I have so many wonderful memories of my Peter and the NDO.
I used to go with him frequently to the Playhouse in Manchester as well as with the band on their NDO “On Tour” work, the ’ Dee Time’ television shows and all the other productions of the time.
I loved every single member of that band – they were such fantastic musicians, so full of fun and I was so happy being with Peter and all of them.
I remember driving back after an NDO On Tour show at an RAF camp, Peter and I stopped in a lay-by to have a cuddle and all the lads passing in cars on their way home started tooting as they passed. We never lived that down!
On another of the tours at an airbase I remember we bought a brass miniature record player that played Smoke Gets In Your Eyes. I've still got it and look at it often and remember. In breaks at the playhouse the lads in the band often used to get raw tripe – ugghhh! - and smother in vinegar and salt and pepper. They loved it! I used to gip seeing them eat it! During one of the Here We Go With The NDO shows I remember standing in the wings with the Beatles (who were not famous at the time - wish I'd got their autographs!) I remember standing next to Georgie Fame too - he had a lovely cheeky grin and a fabulous voice.
I got on with all the “orchestra wives” too, and all the lovely directors, sound guys and librarians. I remember Peter on another tea break at the Playhouse, and Matt Monroe finished off Peter’s crossword that was on his music stand. Pete was furious! Then there were the wonderful singers; Sheila Buxton (who Peter once told "My wife dances like you sing!"), and darling Terry Burton, who is married to lovely Les Beavers, (fabulous guitar player). Fred Kelly I used to banter and laugh a lot with - what a player, WOW!
I loved Frank Dixon playing “Autumn In New York”, and anytime Fred played flugel. The lovely Bernard Darkin (who’s face, in a lovely way seemed to bring to mind the sound of a trombone!) loved photography, and took photos of our family - Gary and Jane, me and Peter (not forgetting the dogs Pedro and Chico.)
I remember Bob Turner and all his witty, funny jokes, Ken Frith’s poem about the "Cuckoo", Big Roger Fleetwood – who we used to be known as “Wim--y” (after the building firm) as he looked just like he had been “built” - and his quips. Syd Lawrence with whom I used to banter with all the time…
The lovely Brian Fitzgerald (who also worked as pianist for Sheila Buxton) was someone Peter had a special friendship with - there was a lot of mutual respect between them.
I remember a recording session I performed with the NDO - a series of jingles for Radio Manchester - as vocalist along with Friday Brown, Terry Burton (and myself) - Pete did the arrangements for all those. - WHAT A BAND, the best in the land ! I used to dance in the wings when they were on - I would defy anybody not to dance when the band were playing all those fantastic arrangements of Pat Nash and the lovely Alan Roper.
And to all the ones that aren't with us anymore, bless them all wherever they are. I didn't realise just how happy I was in those days until they weren’t there anymore.
A Bob Turner anecdote from Pat Husband
We remember him taking his car to the garage when it had developed a fault. After looking over the car the mechanic turned to Bob and claimed “Your fan belt’s knackered and it’s turned on it’s end”. In typical form, Bob instantly answered his phrase by singing “Doo dah doo dah”!
From Pat O’Hare ( vocalist )
After spells with the Teddy Foster and Harry Roy Bands my first broadcast at the Playhouse was March 1st 1959 "Time to Celebrate" produced by Geoff Lawrence, and 158 broadcasts later my last was on the 22nd Feb 1983 "You and the Night and the Music" producer David Treadway.
In April 1961 Peter Pilbeam went out on a limb and gave me my own show "Swingin on a Star" which must have passed muster because it turned into a series of 12 titled "Pat O'Hare and the NDO". Then two series with Geoff Lawrence, "Nice to Come Home to" and "In the Cool of the Evening".
Suffice to say, they were golden days for me, which I thought would never end.
Working with those musicians in the NDO / NRO was a rare privilege and instilled a discipline in me which was a great help in later years, working on TV with bands such as Jack Parnel l / Johnny Patrick and the like, at ATV.
From my very casual approach in those early years, turning up for rehearsal expecting to breeze through and often coming up short.
I was soon to adopt their professional attitude (with the odd rebuke here and there). Days prior to each broadcast I would visit the library, check the scores and vocal sheets in order to obtain their respect as a "One Take" turn.
They were no pushovers, and if you were to gain their trust, you had to earn it. I did have a few lapses in later years, on a couple of occasions, mainly with John Wilcox, when I got the dates wrong and had to be summoned hastily to the Playhouse, where they rearranged the schedule to fit in my vocals, usually after the lads had their pub break and returned in a mellow mood with no recriminations.
I am proud to be able to say that they were all good friends of mine, even Bob Turner and Roger Fleetwood, who never took any prisoners.