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The Syd Lawrence Orchestra


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Syd Lawrence (1923-1998), was a British bandleader from Chester, England who became famous in the UK for his orchestra’s Big Band Sound which drew on the 1940’s style of music of Glenn Miller and Count Basie amongst others.

Syd had been a talented trumpet player during the Second World War. He had written and arranged music and his early talent was recognised in those fields as well. He was based in Cairo during the war years, playing and arranging for the RAF service bands. After he left the forces, he played with some of the leading British dance bands of the 1940’s, finally being invited to join the BBC’s Northern Dance Orchestra in 1953. He stayed with this band for 16 years playing alongside fellow trumpet player Stan Hibbert.

In 1967 Syd teamed up with several of his colleagues at the Northern Dance Orchestra to play the music that he was most enthusiastic about, that of Glenn Miller. Early concerts at the Mersey Hotel in Manchester were a great success, and larger venues were found to play in as the reputation of his band grew.

Yorkshire Television gave The Syd Lawrence Orchestra a regular spot on the comedy show Sez Les. As the music became more popular, Syd and his band started touring around the UK, which they did with great success for many years. Several records were made along with radio and television appearances on variety shows.

Syd retired from touring in 1994 and died of an aneurism in 1998. Following his death, the Syd Lawrence Band continued on and still tours. The orchestra has been led by Brian Pendleton, and presently by Chris Dean.

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