Glenn Miller Festival Continued....
Within six months and thousands of pounds later Dave Wooding and his family and company had completed the project and on June 2nd 2002 the Control Tower was officially opened. This day was truly a satisfying day for our members but full credit to Dave Wooding and his company for achieving so much in such a short time. The day was filled with many interesting events including the Glenn Miller Exhibition in the ground floor of the tower, the first floor being devoted to restoring the Control Tower to its original RAF war time condition with some of the original equipment of those days being returned into the now revamped offices, and control room. The day ended with a concert by the official Glenn Miller Orchestra UK directed by Ray McVay with special guest star Beryl Davis who officially opened the Glenn Miller Museum.
One year later, seeing the enthusiasm that we Glenn Miller and big band fans have and by the number of people who had shown so much interest, he set about planning an event for this year 2003. A Glenn Miller festival is what we wanted, and that is exactly what we got.
Last years effort of restoring the Control Tower was a huge undertaking in itself but since that date realizing the potential that this could develop into England's most prestigious Big Band Venues, other buildings have been erected this year and covered awnings over eating areas etc. not to mention the new stages, this is now becoming a venue that will be able to cater to all kinds of musical
activities and in all weather conditions.
The New Stage and restored Control Tower in background
Band leaders Jonny Cooper & Bill Baker and Director Dave Wooding
I see great possibilities for some of the other buildings on this site, which are in good enough state to be renovated into conference rooms and other indoor activities, and I am sure now that Mr. Wooding does too. His original concept for this site was to be an equestrian show ground but I have strong feelings that the excitement now brewing in the Twinwood arena is that this may well be a secondary consideration and that swing music for the old and ageing teenagers like myself will take centre stage.
On Saturday 23rd August we arrived at Twinwood at 9.30 am having driven up from Cornwall and was firstly surprised to see all the last years car parks full of campervan and tents. These were holiday makers who had arrived on the Friday night as well as many of the personnel of the Militaria, and Aeronautics Societies who were re-enacting events that took place in various parts of Europe during world war two.
Here was the Tony Strudwich Orchestra from Sussex one trombones, two trumpets, three Saxes, and a rhythm group. The sound they made was almost as good as a full sixteen-piece orchestra. We hadn't expected such a good band to start the day and wondered how these guys could play so early in the day having traveled up from Sussex earlier that morning. A terrific performance with vocal being sung by daughter Samantha Dawn and Tony's wife Jaynie Jay
Tony Strudwick's Band with daughter Samantha (centre on Sax) and wife Jaynie Jay (vocals)
This band was really appreciated by the early audience and as first band on, probably should have had a hard time warming up the audience. But no, they were straight into the popular Glenn Miller numbers and soon had the audience with them.If this band had been able to play on the Sunday, they would have no doubt been met with rousing enthusiastic applause.
I do hope we see them next year and being a British band with easy access they would indeed attract an audience. I liked the singing of Jaynie Jay, as she reminded me so much of Anne Shelton by her looks and mannerisms. The two ladies together
Jaynie Jay and daughter Samantha did some great harmonising as two of the Andrews Sisters, and as Tony has recently told me he hopes to add a third lady to make the trio and thus becoming a re-creation of the Andrews Sisters.
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