Concert at The Barn, Carlton July 5th, 2019
I am so thrilled that I managed to get to the Barn for the most WONDERFUL CONCERT I can remember!!!! I can’t believe that when you played several numbers I found myself crying.
That version you did of “The Moon Got In My Eyes“ was as good as Carroll Gibbons and Anne Lenner’s. So thank you and your great team, very very much for an evening I shall never forget.
Haslemere Festival concert – 25th May 2019.
Dear Mr Law,
I was very fortunate to be in the audience at your concert by the Piccadilly Dance Orchestra in Haslemere on Friday.
This was the most flawlessly professional presentation that I have ever seen by any dance band.
Although every member of the band was top flight I think that special mention must be made of your girl singer who had the unenviable task of sitting facing the audience throughout the whole concert whether or not she was singing. Never once, not even for a few seconds, did her charming smile and her enthusiastic facial connection with the band slip for one moment.
It was a most remarkable performance. My wife agrees.
Very best wishes.
Beaulieu Festival concert – 15th June, 2019. Most uplifting night out in ages!
I just wanted to thank you all for your performance at Beaulieu Abbey this evening. At a time of monumental cynicism, fake news, Brexit, Trump and the Muppet Show at Westminster, your concert lifted our hearts. Beautiful songs, wonderfully played and sung. I felt transported to a more joyful, more positive time (Great Recession not withstanding).
Whoever becomes our next PM, he or she should be ordered by Parliament to spend two hours listening to your set. Hopefully the generosity of spirit and sense of humour will rub off on them.
Thank you for a very special evening.
P.S. Please also thank Karla and the band, you are all excellent. Special praise for your sound mixer. High equality equipment perfectly mixed and we were in the front row.
Update about our 30th Anniversary concert on 20th October.
In response to popular demand, there will now be some space for dancing, but please note as it’s mainly a CONCERT performance, we won’t be playing modern Ballroom or Latin dance music (as we would for a purely dance event) – but you are most welcome to dance to the 1920s/30s tunes we’ll be playing, i.e. Quickstep, Charleston, Jive, Waltz (one), Lindy & Slow foxtrot. BOOK NOW!
REVIEW for our new CD ‘Are You Havin’ Any Fun?’
To mark the thirtieth year of their existence, Michael Law and the Piccadilly Dance Orchestra have produced this affectionate tribute to the golden age of British dance bands. Aficionados of the period may well recall the original recordings by bands such as Ambrose, Ray Noble, and Harry Roy. Many of these songs have become standards, but some have benefited from new arrangements, while others are longer versions and include the complete verses.
The recording is bright without being brassy, and has achieved a very natural spacious acoustic in which every detail can be appreciated. It takes a very high degree of musicianship to achieve this level of performance, and it’s a mark of their excellence that the PDO make it sound easy. All but one of the tracks are vocals, and all of the singers are “in period”, Michael’s light baritone in particular evoking a more leisurely bygone age.
Whether you want to roll up the carpet and dance, or just sit back and listen, you’ll find this CD a delight from start to finish, and I cannot recommend it too highly.
Available HERE or on download from iTunes or Amazon
Author – Barry McCanna / Memory Lane magazine
NEW CD ‘Are You Havin’ Any Fun?’
We’re delighted to announce our new CD, now available from our STORE page. There are also two videos created created to tracks from the album by Jonathan Holmes : Charleston and Teddy Bears’ Picnic, both recorded by popular demand!
Michael & Alan
Memories of Diana, Princess of Wales
We were lucky enough to perform in the presence of Lady Diana on several occasions, most memorably at Althorp House on the occasion of her brother, Earl Spencer’s 30th Birthday party. Security was tight as we arrived and our car was checked for explosives at the gate! There was much speculation as to whether she would be there night night, as this was during her period of ‘withdrawal from public life’. As Alan and I set up the music stands in front of the fireplace facing the staircase, in the silence of the great entrance hall, we heard children laughing. Soon they came running into the hall, chased by Diana, wearing jeans and laughing with them – relaxed and happy at a very difficult time in her life.
Later on, the guests left dinner and made their way down the stairs towards the disco. We were playing as background music in the hall, but no-one went to the disco and everyone sat on the stairs listening to us and dancing until the early hours – a great compliment! Diana asked us to play ‘In The Mood’ and danced to it – later she asked us to play it again! Earl Spencer kindly arranged excellent meals and accommodation for the orchestra, which was much more than some very wealthy clients (who will remain nameless) have done!
The night that Diana died, we were performing at The Savoy Hotel as part of our six-year ‘Stompin’ at The Savoy’ residency. We went to bed at 2am without listening to the news and only heard about it the next morning. We lived in Windsor then and the town was very affected by it – flowers soon covered a vast area in front of the castle – and we’ve never forgotten the almost total silence which pervaded the town on the day of her funeral.
The BBC may have (all but) abandoned ‘our’ music, but all is not lost! There are radio stations out there and you can find a list of some of them HERE.
Tony Bradley’s excellent ‘The Dance Band Days’ features The PDO on his show of 11.1.18, followed by a favourite recording of mine, the Savoy Orpheans’ 1939 ‘Let’s Stop The Clock’, with a gorgeous vocal by George Melachrino. Listen and enjoy!
Gatsby Gala in the glorious Grand Theatre, Wolverhampton!
What a great night last Saturday – the wonderful audience not only got into the spirit of this 20s evening, but dressed the part too!
Here’s a review: (also read online)
‘Myself and one of my best friends headed to the Grand Theatre’s Great Gatsby night for an evening of beautiful entertainment. People of all ages gathered in their best 20’s clobber to celebrate the light-hearted ditties of years passed in the much-beloved Grand Theatre in the heart of Wolverhampton.
From the Charleston of the 1920s Gatsby era through the beautiful classic songs of the 1930s, to swing and jazz hits, Michael Law’s Piccadilly Dance Orchestra performed the greatest swinging tracks packed full of charisma and grace. Accompanied by the beautiful and debonair Louise Cookman, Michael Law captured the hearts of the audience instantly with his charming anecdotes, crisp sense of humour and powerful vocals, coupled with Louise’s sultry harmonies.
2018 marks 30 years of Michael Law’s Piccadilly Dance Orchestra and from the enthusiasm in every single note you’d think they were already celebrating – raging saxaphone solos, wah-wah-ing trumpets and fun-loving banjo riffs titillated the ears of the audience with renditions of the great works of Cole Porter,George Gershwin and Irving Berlin .
This night wasn’t just one to sit and watch however, the audience were encouraged to get involved as much as possible and dance the night away. I was immensely moved seeing old married couples and budding young lovers joining hands and sharing love for the roaring twenties – reservations of embarrassment went straight out of the window as audience members danced through the aisles creating the most pure and loving atmosphere imaginable.
The Gatsby Dancing Girls created the perfect visual metaphor for the music on show – full of energy, quirky comedy and effortless charisma. Whether dressed to the nines as men or performing a sultry feather routine – the Dancing Girls kept the party alive whenever they entered the stage.
A fun-packed show from start to finish, The Grand Theatre created a party Gatsby himself would be jealous of full of highly talented musicians, high-octane dancers and a wonderful audience ready to dance the night away.’
An audience member also wrote:
‘What a show! I think you and Alan were probably as pleased with the show’s huge success as the audience. I shall be very surprised if you are not invited back to Wolverhampton. I noticed that the theatre was eventually obliged to open the top balcony to accommodate all those who wanted to attend, something I believe they do only occasionally. You may have gathered from your sight of the foyer before the show that a majority of the audience (and particularly the ladies) made a considerable effort to dress appropriately. Congratulations to your Gatsby Girls for making a superb contribution to the proceedings.’ (John C).
Dame Vera Lynn
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!
John Paul Getty Jnr. and The PDO
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(!)
It’s our 30th Anniversary in 2018! New recording planned – why not sponsor us!?
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: firstname.lastname@example.org
Michael & Alan / The PDO
Len Goodman & The PDO – Children in Need Tea Dance/Waldorf Hotel/13th Nov. 2016
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: https://www.pdo.org.uk/Performances
Why not purchase some of our CDs for Christmas! https://www.pdo.org.uk/Store
The PDO returns to Snape Maltings
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
Michael Law from the Piccadilly Dance Orchestra talks transcribing original recordings, performing for Margaret Thatcher, a residency at The Ritz and dance bands
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…