Marching and Waltzing
A light music programme which ran (albeit intermittently) for over 40 years. It started during the war, initially as a record programme, but by the late forties it was using studio music played by a military or brass band (for the marches) and a light orchestra to play the waltzes. For many years the semi-resident orchestra was The Raeburn Orchestra conducted by Wynford Reynolds, although other orchestras such as those of Richard Crean, Reg Pursglove, Harold Collins, and Hugh James were also participating by the mid-fifties. After the death of Wynford Reynolds in January 1959, Anton and his orchestra took over for a while, but once again, other orchestras participated occasionally.

The programme commenced and ended with the band playing the Sousa march 'King Cotton' and the orchestra playing a part of 'Vienna Blood' (Strauss), a novelty feature being that band and orchestra would combine for the last part of the waltz. However,this idea could only be used when both contributions were live (the marches were sometimes pre-recorded) and it ceased altogether when,in the sixties, it was decided to utilise BBC staff orchestras to play the waltzes. The BBC Midland Light Orchestra did it for a while but were known to hate the programme because it meant a three-hour session (rehearsal plus the one - hour broadcast) playing in three-four time which they found monotonous!

After their participation ceased, the orchestral part of the programme was provided by the BBC Northern Ireland Orchestra, apart from a series around 1980 when it was decided to use the London Studio Players (augmented with brass) for the waltzes, with a different guest conductor each week. The BBC, in its infinite wisdom, decided to bill this in the 'Radio Times' as - 'The Orchestra conducted by......' As a title, this orchestra was officially disbanded in the early eighties, (along with other staff orchestras) but its musicians had been given contracts which provided them with a limited number of engagements for five years. So the BBC (with a little imagination) could easily have given it a name,possibly utilising one of the many aliases under which it had formerly broadcast!

For the final series (1983/ 1984) the BBC introduced the idea of having the band and orchestra switch roles for two pieces in each programme. This resulted in the writer's waltz 'Souvenir de Montmartre' being played by the Band of the Royal Artillery (Woolwich) in this final series! Maybe that was the final straw!

It is worth mentioning that,for a while in the seventies, a variant on 'Marching and Waltzing' was broadcast,initially featuring the BBC Northern Ireland Orchestra and guest brass and military bands entitled 'Brass and Strings and Other Things' - a cumbersome title later shortened to 'Brass and Strings', when the orchestral content was provided by a section of the BBC Radio Orchestra. These programmes differed only to the extent that the music did not have to be confined to marches and waltzes.

Click here!
Listen to 'Marching and Waltzing' played by The Central Band of The Royal Air Force,
Director of Music: John Martindale,
and orchestra conducted by
Raymond Agoult
as broadcast on 9th November 1980.

MARCHING AND WALTZING at 11a.m. Home Service on 24th. August 1959
The marches played by the C.W.S Manchester Band, Conductor Alex Mortimer
The Waltzes played by Anton and his Orchestra

March: The Standard of St. George
Waltz: Waltz for a Bride
March: Washington Post
Waltz: Gypsy Reverie
March: El Abanico
Waltz: Around the Volga
March: Lorraine
Waltz: Boulevards de Paris
March: Washington Greys
Waltz: Valse Poudree
March: National Emblem
Waltz: Mon Reve
Kenneth Alford
Harry Dexter
Sousa arr. Hewitt
Tony Lowry
Javaloyes arr. Ord Hume
Walter Borchert
Gerald Crossman
Francis Popy

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Text by Brian Reynolds : e-mail