Click here to return to the main site entry page
Click here to return to the previous page

John White's Band
The Band at the Ritz
The Band at the Ritz


of the

John White Footwear Band

at the Ritz Theatre, Rushden on

Sunday, 31st January, 1954

together with

Lester Ferguson

in a

Concert of Special Arrangements & Songs

(Proceeds to the Higham Ferrers and
the Rushden Tuberculosis After-Care Funds)

John White
"It was only a short time ago that I decided to proceed with a project that for a long time had been in my mind. This was the formation of a Works Band.
I felt that if a really first-class musical organisation could be established it would be a source of pride to my group of Companies and its Employees, and at the same time provide the opportunity for them to hear and appreciate music of a very high standard. As a result of very hard work by everyone concerned, we have now got together a team of fine musicians under first-class leadership, and I am proud to present them to you at this, their first public appearance, confident that they will prove themselves worthy of the organisation they represent and also the town with which they are associated." John White
"The Queen"
OVERTURE "Masaniello" Auber arr. Winter.
Auber composed over 40 operas of which Masaniello (also known as "The Dumb Girl of Portici") is the only serious work and is an example of ' French Grand Opera,' the first model of the type. It is recorded that Wagner was greatly impressed with the dramatic character of this Overture.
WALTZ "Gold and Silver" Lehar
Franz Lehar's first efforts at fame as a composer were in the domain of serious opera, but from this he turned; and the "Merry Widow" saw him launched as a composer of the lighter type of stage work. Amongst many other triumphs are "The Count of Luxembourg" and "Frederica."
CORNET SOLO "Carnival of Venice" Arban, arr. Scott
POLKA "The Bartered Bride" Smetana, arr. Denis Wright
Smetana, 1824-1884, composed 9 operas, of which only "The Bartered Bride" is universally well-known. The Polka is a Bohemian dance which originated early in the nineteenth century.
TROMBONE SOLO "Rondo" (from Horn Concerto in Eb No. 4)
Mozart arr. Denis Wright
SYMPHONIC POEM No. 3 "Les Preludes" Franz Liszt
Liszt's Symphonic Poems are more operatic than symphonic in quality and carried "program music" (i.e. descriptive music) to its furthest development before the time of Richard Strauss. The programmatic basis of Les Preludes is taken from Lamartine's Poetic Meditations.
HUNGARIAN RHAPSODY No. 2. Franz Liszt arr. W. Rimmer
Liszt composed 15 Hungarian rhapsodies for piano. These became so popular that the composer, in collaboration with Franz Doppler arranged six of them for Orchestra. No. 2, which is the most popular, opens with a slow movement patterned after the "Lassu," a Magyar dance, and continues with the rapid "Friska," taken from the "Czardas," the national dance of Hungary.
EUPHONIUM SOLO Introduction and Allegro Spiritoso Senaille arr. Denis Wright
XYLOPHONE SOLO "Czardas" y. Monti
Soloist : JACK MILES
SELECTION "South Pacific" Rogers arr. Denis Wright
Finale "NIGHTFALL IN CAMP" (D. A. Pope)
George Thompson
Musical Director


The well-known successful Coach of many recent winning Bands. Also Principal Examiner for Brass for L.C.M. and Associated Teacher to the Bandsmen's College of Music.

The Bandsmen
previously with the Black Dyke Band
(Solo tenor Horn Eb) JOHN ROBINSON previously Solo Horn with Munn & Feltons
previously with Markham Main Band
(2nd tenor Horn Eb) JOHN HOBBS previously Solo Horn with Rushden Temperance Band
(1st Baritone Bb) ROBERT W. POWNALL previously Soloist with Hanwell Silver and Grimethorpe Colliery. Was also Conductor of Harwich Old, Nutgrove and The Leigh B.L. Band
(Solo Euphonium Bb) DAVID MORRIS previously Solo Euphonium with Fodens
(Asst. Euphonium) GARETH MORGAN previously Soloist with R.A.M.C. Staff Band
(Bass Eb) HARRY POWNALL previously 1st Baritone with the Bickershaw Colliery, Collenders Senior, and Wingotes Temperance Bands
(2nd Baritone) GORDON ROBINSON previously with Munn & Feltons Band
(Bb Bass) ARCHIE SCOTT previously with Besses o' th' Barn
(Bb Bass) WILLIAM SCOTT previously with Swansea Citadel S.A. Band
(Eb Bass) ALAN RICHARDSON previously with Ransome & Maries Band

PERCUSSION JACK MILES Principal Drummer-Xylophonist with the Royal Marines Band, Portsmouth—and also of the specially-selected Royal Yacht Band
HARRY GRAY previously Principal Cornet of Wingates Temperance Band
NEVILLE GRIFFITHS previously Principal Cornet with R.A.M.C. Staff Band
WILLIAM KILGOUR previously Solo Cornet with Clydebank Burgh
KEN DAVIES previously at Soprano of Markham Main Colliery
HORACE HYDE previously Principal Cornet with Rushden Temps. Band
SYD BRADLEY previously Solo Cornet of Callendars Senior Band
ALEX SYKES previously Principal Cornet with Ransome & Maries
STAN PRINCE previously Solo Cornet with Rushden S.A. Band
TONY BODDINGTON 16 year-old Cornettist from Wollaston Town Band
JOHN BROWN previously Soprano Cornet with Rushden Temps. Band
TROMBONES MAXWELL THORNTON (1st Tenor Trombone) previously 1st Trombone with Munn & Feltons Band
VICTOR PAGE (Bass Trombone) previously with North Staffs. Military Band
CLIFFORD BLAND (2nd Trombone) previously with Ransome & Maries Band
Lester Ferguson
Star Guest Artiste

Lester Ferguson — opened the first International Opera Season as leading Tenor for the New London Opera Company, then scored a great personal triumph in the West-end musical play " Carissima," and has since become an outstanding success in his special programmes for the B.B.C.

Accompanist — Albert Marland — formerly arranger and pianist with Henry Hall, Mr. Marland is famous as a solo pianist, composer and arranger, and he also records for H.M.V. under the name of Kurt Burling.

Acknowledgments and thanks are very sincerely offered to :

Mr. W. Hewitt, his co-directors and the staff of the Ritz Theatre—for their great interest and help.

Mr. E. Wadsworth and his team of Stewards who so ably co-operated.

The Programme Girls from John White Head Offices.

The technicians of the John White Maintenance Staff for the stage-setting, and the

Head Gardener for the floral arrangements.

The Rushden Echo and Argus, 18th June, 1954, transcribed by Jim Hollis

Success for Footwear band

The John White Footwear Band scored its first big contest success when it became the runner-up in the Championship Class contest at the “Daily Herald” Open Brass Band Festival at Brighton on Saturday.

Conducted by Mr. George Thompson, the band received 176 points, while Rushden Temperance under Mr. William Scholes finished fourth with 172 points.

The Luton band was the winner (178 points) and Clayton Aniline works Band, of Manchester, came third (175).

The two Midland bands, which appeared in this all-comers festival for the first time, produced interesting interpretations of “Clive of India,” the same test they played at the Midland Area Championship in March. The Footwear Band showed that in the intervening months it had gained in tonal blend, balance and teamwork, while the Temps demonstrated their usual free-flowing style and vitality.

The Temps took part in the festival’s evening concert, when the massed bands playing in the Dome was warmly applauded by the packed audience.

And in the Temps’ ranks, playing the bass, was their conductor, Mr. Scholes.

The Rushden Echo and Argus, 1st April 1955, transcribed by Jim Hollis

John White band dispersal came as a surprise

The decision to disperse the John White Footwear Band caused surprise throughout the district last weekend.

The players had met for a practice when they received letters telling them that their service as bandsmen would be terminated but that they could continue to work for John White, Ltd.

The band was assembled during 1953 when players were engaged from many parts of the country. Some had made a reputation with other bands, and Mr. George Thompson, appointed musical director, was well known for his work with Odhams Press, Hanwell Silver and other bands.

It was no surprise when the band, after an impressive debut in January, 1954, went on to win third prize at Belle Vue in the late summer. Joint concerts were given with Manchester C.W.S. and Rushden Temperance, and a broadcast was made from Higham Ferrers a few weeks ago.

In March the band was placed fourth in the Midland Area round of the “Daily Herald” National Brass Band Championship. It had been entered for the Easter contest at Leicester.

The Rushden Echo and Argus, 6th May 1955, transcribed by Jim Hollis

John White strikes up the band again

A decision to re-form the John White Footwear Band was announced yesterday following a meeting between the bandsmen and representatives of the firm on Wednesday.

The band was dissolved in March, but the players have remained in the firm’s employ.

“They like the district and work,” said Mr. White yesterday. “The great majority wanted to stay with us but are naturally anxious to keep in practice as musicians. We put a proposal to them, and it was decided unanimously to carry on.”

Mr. Sid Bradley will manage the band, and Mr. George Thompson takes up the reins again as musical director.

Click here to return to the main index of features
Click here to return to the Leisure, Clubs & Societies index
Click here to e-mail us