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We begin with Eric Siday, who was one of that large band of composers who wrote from the 1940s onwards, for the recorded music libraries of many publishers. Siday was particularly associated with Chappell’s and his pieces for them included one entitled Luna Park. However, Siday’s The Fountain, for strings and piano, was not written for Chappell, being published by Goodwin and Tabb. He collaborated in the light music field with the previously noticed Austen Croom-Johnson under the pseudonym Eric Austen and with the arranger Reg Owen under the style – surprise, surprise! – of Eric Owen.

A mention now for Squadron Leader Stuart Sterling, who recently (2001) returned to take up the position of Director of Music of the Band of RAF Regiment which he held previously, between 1985 and 1997, before going to be Director of Music at the RAF College. He is well respected as an arranger and composer, his works including various marches (Grand Parade is an example), the fantasy Daedalus and the English Folk Song Trilogy, all for military/wind bands.

Mike Sammes (1928-2001) is worth brief notice for his countless popular arrangements for vocal groups, many of which, like the Mike Sammes Singers, he assembled himself, plus a number of original compositions, among which we may name Why Not Buy An Extra Present? Sammes himself played the piano and sang.

And so finally to Frank Brockett, active in the early 20th Century and particularly known as a purveyor of piccolo solos, once so popular in light music programmes. His examples in that direction included The Linnet, The Mocking Bird and Will-o-the-Wisp. Among his "general" light orchestral miniatures we may exemplify the "reverie", The Shepherd’s Evensong.

Philip L Scowcroft

August 2001

Enquiries to Philip at

8 Rowan Mount



Philip's book 'British Light Music Composers' (ISBN 0903413 88 4) is currently out of print.

E-mail enquiries (but NOT orders) can be directed to Rob Barnett at

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