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22/03/17

Happy 100th Birthday to our much-loved Dame Vera Lynn!

Vera's career began in the 1930s as a dance band vocalist, with among others Howard Baker (who 'discovered' her, singing at Poplar Baths), Charlie Kunz, Orlando and most notably, with Ambrose and his orchestra. I seem to remember that Vera chose one of her earliest recordings, 'Heart of Gold' (with Charlie Kunz's Casani Club Orchestra) as one of her Desert Island Discs and it's a very touching vocal, already sung (aged 19), with her trademark sincerity and directness.

In 1995, The PDO performed for the 50th Anniversary of VE Day in Hyde Park. We played 'They Can't Black Out The Moon' and 'American Patrol' among other wartime gems, 'live' on Radio 2's Desmond Carrington Show. Afterwards, we heard Dame Vera singing on the big stage - I particularly remember her moving rendition of 'When The Lights Go On Again', a song of hope for the end of the war, which she sang with great feeling. Touching also to think that in her audience in 1995 would have been many for whom her voice must have meant so much during the war years.

My first Vera Lynn 78 was an Indian pressing of 'The Anniversary Waltz', which I bought c.1973 in Nairobi. A sure sign of how far her music had traveled!
Michael
07/03/17
This is the start of a series of short blogs about some of the remarkable people we've met over the years.

In 1991, John Paul Getty Jnr. hosted a party at Spencer House - and we were lucky to be engaged to play after-dinner dance music for his illustrious guests. Margaret Thatcher, then Prime-Minister, led Mr Getty (later 'Sir') onto the dance floor and she was an excellent dancer. Later she danced with her husband, Denis. Spencer house, then newly restored, looked stunning and we performed on the elegant balcony (covered especially for the occasion) which overlooks Green Park. Later on in the evening, a young pianist 'sat-in' with the orchestra for some 'Boogie Woogie' - his name was Jules Holland.
Around 1993, our smaller group 78rpm performed for Getty's birthday at Wormsley Estate in Buckinghamshire, in a marquee erected on the edge of his cricket pitch (he was a noted Anglophile). I remember that among his special requests were the 1940s songs 'A Gal in Calico' and 'The Stanley Steamer'. Spike Milligan was a guest and at one point he tottered towards the band stand with his eyes fixed on us. Intrigued, we all looked quizzically at him and wide-eyed he said as he reached the band stage: 'this isn't the toilet; it's the band'. We couldn't disagree with him - and he moved on! Alan and I were lucky enough to be shown around Getty's stunning library by the librarian (I particularly remember some exquisite Viennese Art Nouveau leather book-bindings) and we were given tea in the main house's drawing-room. It's always nice to be treated with consideration and respect by clients, which has not always been the case(!)
Michael
03/03/17
2018 marks the orchestra's 30th Anniversary & we plan a new CD to celebrate this slightly alarming achievement!
Sponsors of our new CD can choose options from a credit on the CD sleeve and 2018 souvenir programme, receiving a copy of the CD and a pair of tickets to our 30th Anniversary concert in London during October 2018. For more information about supporting this project, please email: mail@pdo.org.uk
Michael & Alan / The PDO
01/11/16
Radio 2 presenter and Strictly Come Dancing head judge Len Goodman will be donning his dancing shoes to host a tea dance at The Waldorf Hilton hotel on Sunday 13 November.
100 lucky listeners will be able to join Len and us by entering a text-in competition to win tickets. The competition will run from Monday 31 October to Friday 4 November.

BBC Radio 2 last year raised a whopping £5.7 million for BBC Children in Need. This year the network is hoping to break this record with a number of fantastic fundraising activities, including a tea dance with Len Goodman and The PDO!

NB Tickets are only available through the competition, NOT THROUGH THE PDO.

Radio 2 presenter and Strictly Come Dancing head judge Len Goodman will be donning his dancing shoes to host a tea dance with Michael Law's Piccadilly Dance Orchestra at The Waldorf Hilton hotel on Sunday 13 November.

He will be joined by some special guests from the station plus 100 lucky listeners who’ll be able to join Len on the dance floor by entering a text-in competition to win tickets. The competition will run from Monday 31 October to Friday 4 November. More information on how to enter will be available at bbc.co.uk/radio2

If you don't win tickets for the special event, please come to Wokingham for a Gala Ballroom Dance on 3rd December. More details at: http://www.pdo.org.uk/Performances

Why not purchase some of our CDs for Christmas! http://www.pdo.org.uk/Store
Michael
20/07/16
We're delighted to be returning to Snape Maltings on Friday 29th July, with our special concert of Wartime and late '30s music. The varied programme includes comedy numbers made famous artists as varied as George Formby and Noel Coward, swing music from Glenn Miller and Duke Ellington and you are invited to 'singalong', wartime style to some great tunes, from Flanagan and Allen's 'Run Rabbit Run' to Vera Lynn's 'We'll Meet Again'. Louise Cookman adds vocal lustre and a lashings of glamour.

I've enjoyed researching information about this fascinating period for my script, which I hope helps to give context to the great music.

My first experience of Benjamin Britten's famous concert hall was singing in the Cambridge University Chamber Choir for a performance of Bach's 'B Minor Mass', back in 1981. It's a stunning venue and the audiences are always terrific and supportive, whatever style of music you're performing!

Please join us on the 29th if you can.
Michael & Alan & The PDO


https://tickets.aldeburgh.co.uk/Online/2016-snape-proms-piccadilly-dance-orchestra
Michael
16/05/16
The Piccadilly Dance Orchestra was founded by Michael Law in 1988. Their performance highlights have included Earl Spencer’s 30th birthday party, special BAFTA awards parties for Julie Andrews and Sean Connery, the first ever Proms in the Park and a residency at the Ritz Hotel. Princess Margaret famously even instructed people to move back the tables during one of their performances so that she could dance the night away! The 12-piece version of the orchestra began a series of Saturday night dances at the Savoy Hotel in 1997.

You can also see the Piccadilly Dance Orchestra in the Helen Mirren and Michael Caine movie, Last Orders, playing Chattanooga Choo-Choo...

Read more>
Danielle